Over the past several weeks, Detroit Pistons’ power forward Greg Monroe has heard his name bandied about in numerous trade discussions. On the surface, it might be easy to see why they’d be interested in dealing him.
Monroe is part of a Pistons team that was overhauled with several new pieces in the hopes of competing in the Eastern Conference. Detroit added legitimate talents in the offseason in Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. Unfortunately, even while playing in the weak East, the Pistons still aren’t making much progress.
The team sits at 18-27 and while they’re technically in the playoff hunt sitting only 1/2 game out from the final spot, they wouldn’t be much more than first-round fodder for a team like the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat. Based on that, shaking things up might not be a bad idea.
If you were expecting Detroit to deal one of their better young players, don’t look for that to happen right now. ESPN’s Marc Stein says that while Detroit needs a guard on the perimeter to open things up a bit for post play, a Monroe deal isn’t likely. Stein says that, according to sources, inquirers are being told that the big man is not on the trading block.
To Stein’s point, the Pistons could surely use some backcourt help. Jennings is the star there and averaging 17 points and eight assists per game, is mostly doing his job. His shot selection, as always, has been a hindrance and he’s shooting below 38 percent from the field. Still, leading the team in scoring and assists, he’s not the biggest problem they have right now.
Jennings is playing with very little help in the backcourt. Rodney Stuckey is giving the team 14 points per night off the bench, but like Jennings, isn’t a real three-point threat that will command a lot of attention from beyond the arc. After him, there’s not even much scoring help from starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Chauncey Billups, who are generating only about 11 points while eating up a combined 40+ minutes per game. Both have sub-10 PER numbers as well and really aren’t doing much out there.
Despite that need, however, the Pistons are ultimately wise for hanging onto Monroe if they go in that direction. Weakening one unit to make another one better won’t make sense in this case since the Pistons don’t have a strong option behind Monroe.
A deal for the big man could ultimately happen if the team changes its mind. That’s particularly true since Monroe becomes an unrestricted free agent after this year and the Pistons may not want to match an astronomical bid. A max contract is very possible for him and if they decide he’s not worth it, a deal could come. For now, though, they appear content to hang on to him.