Greg Monroe could very well be on his way out of Detroit this summer, here’s a round up of some of the spots he might end up, with the San Antonio Spurs among those featured.
It’s official. The 2013/14 Pistons experiment failed. It was a bold decision on the part of former Pistons GM Joe Dumars to try and fit Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe into a successful starting line-up. Unfortunately, these three talented big men could not harmoniously co-exist and Detroit finished the year with a 29-53 record.
The real trouble with the attempt to use Smith, Drummond and Monroe together is the fact that Smith is a power forward, despite what he may believe. The idea that Smith could produce efficient basketball from the small forward spot has been shown to be fanciful; Smith’s 26.4% three-point field goal percentage on 3.4 attempts per game this season is more than conclusive evidence.
With Dumars gone and Stan Van Gundy in as head coach and president of basketball operations for Detroit, decisions will need to be made. The organisation will be holding on to Andre Drummond very tightly as they seem him as a significant part of their future plans and so it will have to be either Monroe or Smith that sees the exit this summer, unless Van Gundy believes he can make the triumvirate of big men a viable option.
However, should the Pistons choose to move one either Smith or Monroe, it seems unlikely that the Pistons will find a suitor willing to take on Smith’s $40.5 million contract, as well as parting with any assets the Pistons may ask for. And given that Monroe will become a restricted free agent this summer it seems increasingly possible that the Pistons will choose to reap whatever reward they can in exchange for the talented young power forward. With that in mind here are some potential trade destinations that the Pistons might consider:
The Pelicans have a strong core of young players on which they are looking to build. Prior to the February trade deadline the Pelicans had reportedly been looking to trade either Eric Gordon or Tyreke Evans, both of whom have struggled in New Orleans. A potential trade in which Gordon or Evans was sent to Detroit in exchange for Monroe and Charlie Villanueva (for salary reasons) is certainly a viable possibility. New Orleans would love to pair Monroe with Anthony Davis in the front court, while Detroit could use either Gordon as a back-court partner for Brandon Jennings or Evans as a their starting small forward.
The newly named Hornets are keen to find a talented power forward to pair with big Al Jefferson. Charlotte might be tempted to offer the Pistons the 9th and 24th pick in this year’s deeply talented draft, as well as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in exchange for Monroe. Detroit could use these picks to pick up some quality young talent such as Aaron Gordon or Zach LaVine with the 9th pick and Glenn Robinson III or Jerami Grant with the 24th pick. If these options don’t satisfy the Pistons then they could easily flip them onto another team in exchange for some more established talent.
San Antonio Spurs:
Picture the scene: the Spurs are crowned NBA champions in June and Tim Duncan decides to go out on a high and announces his retirement. Such a scenario could well become a reality and should Duncan choose to retire this summer, the Spurs will be looking for a long-term replacement. Monroe would not be a bad man to have starting at the power forward spot in Duncan’s place. The Spurs could offer Detroit veteran shooting guard Danny Green as well as their 2014 and 2015 first round draft picks in exchange for Monroe, an offer Detroit would be sure to consider. Should they want more, however, they could angle for a one to one trade of Monroe and young defensive savant Kawhi Leonard, though whether San Antonio would be interested in such a deal remains to be seen.