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Report: Greg Monroe out with the Stan Van Gundy’s Pistons (update: maybe not)

May 14, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

John Loyer, Greg Monroe John Loyer, Greg Monroe

Update: Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Well, that’s quite the 180 from the initial report.

It’s also possible both reports are correct. Maybe Van Gundy likes Monroe only as a center, not a stance I agree with but also not a totally unreasonable one. Drummond is the Pistons’ center of the future, and if Van Gundy doesn’t believe Monroe can play with Drummond — no matter how much he likes Monroe — the Pistons’ new president would try to trade Monroe or even let him walk.

End update

Stan Van Gundy likes to run a one-in, four-out offense that requires a stretch four.

Good luck with that with the Pistons, whom officially announced Van Gundy’s hiring today.

Van Gundy inherits a team with two starting caliber power forwards – Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. Monroe doesn’t shoot from the perimeter, and Smith does. Both are problems, because neither can reliably make shots from there.

Personally, I’d rather have the player who doesn’t miss so many outside shots, but it’s complicated by their contract statuses. Smith is signed for three more years at $13.5 million per season, probably making him untradeable without a sweetener attached. Monroe will be a restricted free agent this summer, a legitimate candidate to receive a max contract.

What will Van Gundy do?

Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

Even before the Pistons made the bold move of hiring Stan Van Gundy to be their coach and run their basketball operations on Tuesday, there was a growing consensus around the league that whomever was tabbed to replace Joe Dumars in the front office would be willing to let restricted free agent Greg Monroe go.

Now, with Van Gundy in place on an eyebrow-raising contract—five years, $35 million—there is near certainty among league executives that Monroe has played his last game for Detroit.

Deveney names the Bobcats and Lakers as teams interested in Monroe, and Monroe’s hometown Pelicans interest him. If Van Gundy can swing a sign-and-trade that returns equal value and a better fit, fantastic.

But with the league-wide perception described in this report, Van Gundy loses a lot of leverage. Why sign-and-trade for Monroe if you know the Pistons don’t value him and won’t match a big offer?

Smith, Monroe and Andre Drummond can’t play together. They had a full season to confirm that, and as good a coach as Van Gundy is, I think he could only limit the damage when those three share the court.

Of that trio, Drummond is by far the most valuable player. After that, I’d rank Monroe – even on a max deal – simply due to his age. Smith (28) is likely to have declined by the time Drummond (20) enters his peak, but Monroe (23) will have a career arc that more closely overlaps with Drummond’s. The Pistons should focus on maximizing their roster for Drummond’s prime years, when he could be one of the NBA’s top players.

Plus, Monroe is already about as good as Smith. Monroe averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season, and although he doesn’t defend as well as Smith, he also doesn’t destroy the flow of the offense with as many forced shots and sloppy turnovers.

Van Gundy has the power, based on salary and title (president of basketball operations, head coach), to take the long view. Monroe is a good, young, big man, and that makes him valuable. You don’t let valuable pieces walk away for nothing, even if they don’t fit right away.

The Pistons – if they can’t find a trade that returns equal value – should re-sign Monroe and try to trade him and/or Smith later. It’s not worth selling low now. Van Gundy’s job is not in jeopardy, and he can survive the growing pains that result from keeping Monroe.

Soon enough, Monroe would help the Pistons – either by another team stepping up with a better trade offer without Monroe on the free agent market or Van Gundy realizing he can use a player of that caliber after all.

  1. money2long - May 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Hahah I just wrote on another article how the pistons should keep smith and move him to the four ! Wow too funny

    • money2long - May 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      My thumbs up vs thumbs down looks like smith’s shooting percentage some nights. However I still think at power forward he will prove a very valuable asset with his defense and versitity if he stays within his element.

  2. TheMorningStar - May 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    The ONLY reason they are open to moving Monroe is simply that they are 100% stuck with Josh Smith…no one is willing to take him.

    Smith= Dumars parting gift to Detroit fans…ugh.

    • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Yep, totally agree.

      What a waste that the Pistons are stuck with Smith and have to basically trade Monroe who is not only younger but better/more upside.

      • cantonb0und13 - May 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        Don’t forget about Brandon Jennings…

      • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        As a Bucks fan I’m happy where Jennings is…which is on another team in the East.

      • money2long - May 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Smith is a better fit alongside Drummond. U guys r crazy

      • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        In SVG’s system preferrably they’d move both Monroe and Smith.

  3. mortalkondek - May 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    You’re moving the wrong forward, Stan Van Gundy.

    • spursareold - May 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      As TMS mentioned above, I don’t think they have a choice. Not only is Josh Smith a terrible fit for MOST teams, he’s got a sulky crappy attitude and a horrible contract for someone in their late 20s. He should be considered unmovable.

  4. jimb031 - May 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    I’m praying the Pelicans can get this guy, he would instantly be our best option at center.

    • spursareold - May 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM



      • nomad57 - May 14, 2014 at 8:07 PM

        Davis is a 4. He’d take too many hits as a 5.

  5. deavn - May 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    The Cavs need to get on that. He would be perfect with Kyrie and Hawes and would really help open up the floor on offense.

  6. adoombray - May 14, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Monroe for Ryan Anderson makes so much sense for both sides. dumping Monroe is the right move, you really can’t play 2 centers anymore with so many good small teams in both conferences.

    • jimb031 - May 14, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      There is no realistic scenario where dumping Ryan Anderson makes any sense for the Pelicans. He made everyone on the team better and is possibly the best stretch 4 in the game.

      • bkbell3 - May 15, 2014 at 12:49 AM

        Umm,KEVIN LOVE?

  7. unxpexted1 - May 14, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Honestly, Smith is unmovable, BUT, he would be a good third option on a team if Drummond evelops and they can get good guard play. He’ll do better being at the 4 than he was this year at 3.

    • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      If history has taught us anything. No contract is unmovable in the NBA.

      • unxpexted1 - May 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        agreed, but with John Smith only on the first year of this deal, it’s gonna be the closest thing to it.

      • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        It would be real easy to trade him to any team with cap room as long as the sweetener is sweet enough.

        The question is how much are the Pistons willing to sweeten the deal to move him?

  8. Kevin S. - May 14, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Smith is totally moveable. You just need to use the (likely) #8 pick as a shovel.

    • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      You’re right. He’s definitely moveable. It just depends on how much the Pistons are willing to give up to move him.

      The Bucks would potentially be an excellent trade partner. They can trade Ersan, who could fill that stretch 4 role that SVG covets, and the Bucks take on Smith and his crap contract while getting another high first round pick while they rebuild.

  9. phillyguyindc - May 14, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    For Monroe’s sake, I hope they don’t match. He’s too good of a guy and a player to suffer with Smith and Jennings.

    • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      The more likely scenario is they agree to a sign and trade for backcourt help.

  10. bknowledge - May 14, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    I see Josh Smith as a center. Miami is successful with Bosh at center. I know there’s only 1 Lebron, but I’d say Josh is a better rebounder and defender than Bosh (by a little bit).

    Make Josh play center so he takes all his shots at the rim…Josh could play center on a D’Antoni team…or next to a stretch 5 like Pero Antic…

    Teams that can’t sign free agents might take Josh’s contract…I’m looking at you Milwaukee, Toronto, Cleveland…

    I could see Josh at center next to Varejoa at PF…it would allow Cleveland to no re-sign Tristan Thompson…trade Josh for Spencer Hawes and Dion Waiters…

    Joe Johnson’s contract was traded…Gilbert Arenas’ contract was traded…no contract is untradeable…

    • bougin89 - May 14, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Smith is a better rebounder but Bosh is a much better player, especially for Miami’s offensive system. And he’s just a better player.

  11. claymatthewshairplugs - May 14, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Gasol, Xavier and the Lakers high 2nd round pick for Monroe, or Gasol, Xavier and the Lakers 1st round pick for Drummond. As a laker fan I’d prefer Drummond and that should be enough to get the next dominant center for the Lakers.

    • weaselpuppy - May 14, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      terrible. garbage.

  12. sportsfan18 - May 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    e writer said that… “Plus, Monroe is already about as good as Smith.”

    Let’s see, Monroe’s career PER after 4 seasons is 19.3

    Josh Smith’s career PER, through his age 28 season is 17.9

    Monroe’s PER this past season was 18.1

    Josh Smith’s PER this past season was LESS than league average at 14.1

    Monroe’s career true shooting percentage is .545%

    Josh Smith’s is .510% and going down as it’s been BELOW his career average for EACH of the past 3 seasons.

    Per 36 min’s of court time in his career, Monroe scores 16.0 points.

    Per 36 min’s of court time in his career, Josh Smith scores 16.2 points (on MORE shot attempts though as he’s not efficient at putting the ball through the hoop).

    Monroe commits fewer turnovers per 36 min’s of court time than Smith, commits fewer personal fouls per 36 min’s of court time than Smith.

    Monroe grabs 10.3 rebounds per 36 min’s of court time to Smith’s 8.3 rebounds.

    Getting away from true shooting percentage and simply using the old fashioned FG%, Monroe is at .508% for his career to Smiths .459%

    Yeah, I’d say that Monroe is BETTER than Smith now too…

    • Kevin S. - May 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      You do know that PER doesn’t factor in defense, and those numbers came with Smith playing out of position, right? For anything other than the immediate term I’d prefer Monroe, but on a team with a specific need for a rangy, versatile defender at the four who won’t be asked to take many shots and doesn’t care about the salary implications, I could still see Josh Smith being the better fit.

      • unxpexted1 - May 14, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        yea i think the out of position part is the biggest part of the year Josh SMith had…..i didn’t think i would ever defend Josh Smith.

  13. cantonbound13 - May 14, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Bring back Darko

  14. raidmagic - May 14, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Monroe for Afflalo

  15. jcrileyesq - May 14, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    When Smith starts chucking those 3 pointers, SVG reaction and press conference is going to be EPIC

  16. money2long - May 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Stan can Gundy got the juice now.
    Coach and president.

  17. eugenesaxe1 - May 14, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Maybe with two young, very good big men SVG should consider running a different scheme. You eat Smith’s contract if that’s what it takes.

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