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Report: Don’t expect a Greg Monroe trade (unless it’s a blockbuster)

Feb 10, 2014, 10:07 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards Getty Images

Greg Monroe is going to be the name at the heart of a lot of trade rumors the next 10 days. The reason is this: Monroe is a restricted free agent this summer, the Pistons have three more years of Josh Smith at $12 million a year, and coming soon they are going to have to pay obvious max player Andre Drummond a lot of money. So Monroe appears the odd man out.

But it’s not that simple.

Detroit has a great asset in Monroe and they know it — he is quality offensive center who is scoring 14.3 points on 51.5 percent shooting plus grabs 8.7 rebounds a game. (Those numbers are down from last year but that is more about the mess that is the Pistons than Monroe). They are not going to just give him away — and they may match any max offers for him this summer.

David Aldridge lays it out well at NBA.com.

For the moment, the Pistons remain adamant that the 23-year-old Monroe is a key part of their future, alongside second-year center Andre Drummond. But they opted not to give Monroe an extension before last October’s deadline, though they can match any other team’s offer he’ll receive next summer. The problem, as the Pistons knew last fall, is that Monroe’s agent is David Falk. He has gotten the price he said he’d get for his clients for two decades — and he says the price for Monroe will be a max contract….

Yet the Pistons aren’t going to move Monroe unless it’s a blockbuster deal. Offering just expiring contracts won’t get it done. The hope in Detroit is that Monroe’s situation is resolved in similar fashion to how Oklahoma City eventually worked out a four-year, $49 million contract with Serge Ibaka before he hit free agency…

If Falk finds a team ready to give Monroe the max or something close to it, expect Detroit to match the offer sheet and worry about the money later.

This doesn’t mean the Pistons are going to keep Monroe long-term — the Drummond, Monroe, Smith front line just doesn’t work (particularly on defense) and even if it did in a couple of years it’s going to be wildly expensive, once Monroe and Drummond get new deals.

However, the Pistons know they have a real asset, and they know you can’t just give that away. If they are going to go with Smith and Drummond ultimately up front, they are going to need to get real value back for Monroe if and when they move him.

How you get quality assets back in a trade you need to have” 1) something people want; 2) leverage.

The Pistons have number one locked up in Monroe. By not trading him and matching any offers, they get No. 2.

  1. tuberippin - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    They put themselves into a corner with the Jennings and Smith signings. Now they’re going to have to flip Monroe just to help remedy the issues caused by those two signings.

    It’s quite a shame, especially since I’d love to see a Monroe-Drummond frontcourt dominate for a few years.

  2. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    They’d be smarter trading Smith and taking a loss on that deal. Monroe/Drummond is a frontcourt that would do some damage for many years .

    • TheMorningStar - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      “They’d be smarter trading Smith and taking a loss…”

      You make it sound as if they can flip a switch and just dump his contract…this isn’t the 1980s.

      Why does joe dumars still have his job?

      • eugenesaxe1 - Feb 11, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Anybody can be traded, Detroit just has to make it worthwhile for the other team (“taking a loss”). And agree re: Dumars.

  3. knoxxlive - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:40 AM

    Wouldn’t be a loss if they got a quality 2 guard , that would be a solid line-up

    • TheMorningStar - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      They’re just not going to get a ‘quality’ 2 guard for Smith…c’mon, get with reality.

      Pistons are stuck with Josh Smith.

      • borderline1988 - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        Exactly…Nobody is bailing the Pistons out of that contract unless they give up a first rounder or take back another bad contract. Or the Pistons will need to wait a couple of years so that the remaining length of Smith’s contract isn’t so debilitating for another roster to take on.
        Translation: There is no concept of ‘taking a loss on that deal’.

        The Josh Smith signing was awful in every respect. The Pistons had 2 young big men with future all-star potential. So they sign another front-court player with a history of bad shot selection to play the 3/4? I know hindsight is always 20/20, but everyone thought that signing was stupid from Day 1.

        Joe Dumars is gonzo by year-end. Not like it’ll matter at this point, but at least the Pistons can avoid future mistakes down the line.

  4. av416 - Feb 11, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    I can’t really see a trade happening unless the offer is so absurd Tom Gores personally accepts it himself. Given they don’t appear to be hiring a long-term HC this season, chances are Dumars is out as GM, which he should be. With that being said, I’d be shocked if Gores lets Dumars make another franchise altering trade knowing he’s likely on his way out.

  5. mintberrycrunch1 - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Please stop saying they need to pay Drummond soon, it’s flat out wrong. The don’t have to pay him for YEARS, basically when Josh Smith is coming off the books. They can afford to pay Monroe max and be fine cap-wise.

    • cmehustle - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      They can afford it, no doubt. Is that the smart thing to do though? I mean missing the playoffs is missing the playoffs whether you under the cap or in the luxury tax.

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