Best Potential Trade Scenarios, Packages and Landing Spots for Greg Monroe
It's worth noting that they don't, as they're more than welcome to remain mired in mediocrity while utilizing a frontcourt that really doesn't work. But if they want to make the most logical decision, one that involves trading away the future restricted free agent, then that could work too.
Right now, it appears as though the Pistons are opting for the former strategy.
"Sources briefed on the situation told ESPN.com this week that the Pistons have been telling teams with Monroe interest that the restricted free agent-to-be—no matter what you've heard—is not available," wrote ESPN's Marc Stein.
Forgive me if I choose to believe this is a smokescreen, one meant to drive up the price and make other franchises offer more than the market value for the man they call "Moose."
Trading Monroe still makes sense because the Pistons are going to have to pay him an exorbitant amount of money even if they do keep him.
Moving the big man lets Andre Drummond remain the center of attention and shifts Josh Smith to his natural spot at power forward. If Smoove is able to play in his natural spot, he should play more effectively than Monroe ever does.
So keeping in mind that a trade isn't guaranteed or even highly likely to occur at this stage, what could Detroit get back for the man who may or may not be on the block?
Detroit Pistons Receive: Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, 2015 second-round pick
It's time for the Cleveland Cavaliers to part ways with Dion Waiters even though he inexplicably remains a fan favorite despite his inefficient shooting and decreasing passing skills.
According to Basketball-Reference, the second-year shooting guard has actually earned minus-0.4 win shares on the offensive end of the court this season, which means he'd be more valuable if he only played defense.
It's also time for the Detroit Pistons to part ways with Greg Monroe, even though he's a valuable young player. "Moose" is markedly worse when lining up at power forward, and the Pistons can't afford to lessen Andre Drummond's minutes in order to remedy that.
Fortunately, there's a way to fix both problems in one fell swoop.
The Pistons would be able to give Waiters a fresh start and hopefully allow him to capitalize on his lofty potential.
Varejao would be a nice sixth man, coming off the bench to play major minutes while complementing Andre Drummond nicely on defense and the glass.
For Cleveland, the rationale goes along the lines of finally addressing the inability to score and gaining a future draft pick.
Basketball-Reference shows that only six teams in the NBA have scored fewer points per 100 possessions than the Cavs, and Monroe would be a significant upgrade over Varejao on the offensive end. Additionally, Rodney Stuckey could step right into Waiters' role and be an immediate help.
Detroit Pistons Receive: Jeff Green, less favorable 2014 first-round pick
Boston Celtics Receive: Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko
The pairing of Rajon Rondo and Greg Monroe would be incredible for the Boston Celtics.
Assuming the all-world point guard returns to his pre-injury form during the 2013-14 season and signs an extension with the C's, he's certainly a part of the future plans.
General manager Danny Ainge would also have the ability to match any offer that was made for Monroe once he hits the open market as a restricted free agent.
And lo and behold, Beantown would suddenly have the two most-important positions on the court filled. It's far easier to build around a point guard and a center, and the Celtics are definitely in rebuilding mode.
Additionally, Boston would be able to unload Jeff Green's salary. While No. 8 is a valuable secondary or tertiary option, he's not worth the nearly $10 million he'll make each of the next two years.
Green would be a terrific fit on the Detroit Pistons roster, though, as he could stop focusing on his scoring and instead do what made him so special on last year's squad.
With Josh Smith—who gets to move back to power forward—and Brandon Jennings lofting up shots, Green can go back to being a stopper.
However, the contract status does make that first-round pick a necessary throw-in for Motor City.
There's only one problem with this trade: It ruins the irony of having Green play for the green-clad Celtics.
Detroit Pistons Receive: Jeff Green, 2015 first-rounder from the Houston Rockets
Boston Celtics Receive: Omer Asik
Houston Rockets Receive: Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko
Apply everything from the last slide about Jeff Green playing for the Detroit Pistons and the team needing to get a first-round pick.
OK, got it?
Cool. Now let's move on.
In this three-team swap, Greg Monroe is now moving to the Houston Rockets, who also pick up Jonas Jerebko, mostly for the purposes of balancing salaries.
"Moose" might not be best as a power forward, but it'd be hard to argue with the combination of him and Dwight Howard holding down the frontcourt on a nightly basis.
Unlike Omer Asik, Monroe actually has the versatility to step out and open up the paint for players willing to drive into the teeth of the defense and attack the rim. The Rockets' power forward problems (which have been remedied, not solved, by Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas), would suddenly be gone.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this would be a different version of the issue in Motor City. Monroe and D12 works better than Monroe and Andre Drummond, simply because Houston has players who can not only shoot triples, but who can actually make them.
As for the Boston Celtics, they'd basically be trading Green for Omer Asik, who's a natural fit alongside Rajon Rondo. B/R's Tim Daniels wrote about this when the Asik-to-Beantown rumors were swirling in December:
The Celtics lack a reliable center. Jared Sullinger and Bass are both natural power forwards but have also been playing the best among the team's frontcourt, so they have each logged minutes in the middle depending on the lineup.
Asik would fill the void by providing stability in the middle, which would also then allow Sullinger to play his more natural forward role.
Additionally, the defensive potency of a lineup featuring Rondo slowing floor generals and Asik protecting the rim is incredible.
New Orleans Pelicans
Detroit Pistons Receive: Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva
B/R's D.J. Foster proposed this trade in early November, and his reasoning still applies:
For Detroit, landing a perimeter scorer and underrated pick-and-roll player in Gordon would be a great find, so long as Gordon can stay healthy. While that's a risky proposition, Gordon could provide Detroit with the floor spacing and perimeter defense that's currently missing.
Adding one of the league's best shooting big men in Ryan Anderson to the frontcourt of Smith and Drummond could work as well, as those two players could protect Anderson on the defensive end.
Of the five ideas featured in this article, this would be the best.
The only two concerns with Gordon are health and his contract, but he'd be such a good fit in Detroit that the latter really wouldn't matter. The Pistons desperately need consistent three-point shooting, and Gordon can certainly provide that.
He's making 38.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc this year, and he's taking 3.9 triples per game. Plus, he's already played in 42 of the New Orleans Pelicans' 45 contests in 2013-14, which is a nice sign that his knees are finally starting to work.
Down by the Bayou, the Pellies could join Greg Monroe and Anthony Davis into a terrific complementary frontcourt. "The Unibrow" is more than capable of lining up at the 4, and his versatile defensive skills and growing penchant for providing offense from the perimeter would leave Monroe with the ability to maximize his own talents.
If there's one trade we need to make happen, it's this one.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Detroit Pistons Receive: Steven Adams, Perry Jones III, 2015 second-round pick
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: Greg Monroe
If Sam Presti has, he might still be salivating.
That's a potent combo of offense and defense, and the upgrade from Kendrick Perkins to Monroe is a huge one. Durant would have so much scoring pressure eased, and he'd be able to focus even more on the skills that have made him into an increasingly well-rounded player.
The concern, though, is money.
Is it worth giving up two high-upside prospects and a draft pick for a player who might demand a max contract during the offseason?
The Thunder are a bit of a spendthrift organization, as indicated by their trading James Harden and then subsequently refusing to re-sign Kevin Martin, favoring the internal-improvement approach over everything else.
Essentially, the Thunder might end up thinking of this trade as a way to maximize their chances of winning a title in 2013-14.
Worth it? Maybe, maybe not.
For the Pistons, this move allows them to free up the power forward slot for Josh Smith, and they'd also greatly increase their future prospects. Steven Adams and Perry Jones III both have plenty of upside, and the draft pick only sweetens the deal.