It appears Detroit Pistons restricted free agent Greg Monroe wants to leave the team, but his current contract situation complicates matters. Per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, who was a guest on Aime Mukendi Jr.'s podcast AIMEzing Words:
Detroit has tried to help [Monroe] with some sign-and-trade possibilities around the league. Monroe doesn’t really have a great interest in going back and playing with the Pistons. If they’re going to move him in a sign-and-trade, they’ve got to get value for him. They’ve got to get back some significant talent to compensate for that loss. They haven’t been able to find a deal for him.
The Pistons willingness to move their 24-year-old big man could help to facilitate a resolution sooner than later, but per Wojnarowski, the teams that were interested have moved on. Wojnarowski continued:
They’ve talked with Atlanta, I believe they talked with Phoenix for a while. Portland had some interest early on, but those teams moved on. They could have signed Monroe to an offer sheet, but Detroit would have likely matched it..
Here's the entire podcast. The section on Monroe begins at the 12:40 mark:
The Pistons are smart to stick to their guns, even though it means they may wind up stuck with a disgruntled player on the roster for half the season. The market for Monroe should heat up again around the NBA trade deadline.
Perhaps teams with thoughts of contending down the stretch of the regular season would have renewed interest in a skilled young big like Monroe. Heading into unrestricted free agency, a potential suitor may want some assurance Monroe would re-sign with them before giving up major assets.
Why all the fuss? Because Monroe possesses one of the most coveted skill sets in the sport. He can score with his back to the basket. Last season he averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He's not much of a shot-blocker or defender, but offensively he's already a force.
Because he's so young, the best could be yet to come.
The Pistons have one of the best pairings of young big men with Monroe and center Andre Drummond. In many ways, their playing styles complement each other. Drummond is the rebounder and defender that Monroe isn't, and Monroe is a little more skilled and polished than his running mate.
In recognition of that, Drummond is hoping Monroe remains with the team. Per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, Drummond said:
Greg knows what it is. I’ve told him multiple times that he needs to come on home. I need him there, and all the guys would love to have him back as well. At the end of the day, he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family. I still have high hopes, and I’m pretty sure he is coming home, so I’m excited for this season.
There's also the chance that the Pistons will jell under the direction of new head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy. If the Pistons are good, it could impact Monroe's desire to remain in Detroit.
Kyle Lowry Was Almost Dealt to the New York Knicks
How close were the Toronto Raptors to dealing Kyle Lowry to the New York Knicks last season? Per Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling, pretty darn close.
You see, Lowry was only a first-round draft pick away from being traded to the New York Knicks in mid-December. It was this close to happening.
According to a source familiar with the Raptors' thinking, there were three likely scenarios on the table involving Knicks guards Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr., with Lowry being the only Raptors player in the deal. The clincher would have been a future first-round pick to the Raptors, but team owner James Dolan vetoed it and the trade fell through, a denial confirmed by a source close to the Knicks.
That's a deal that could have dramatically changed the fortunes of both teams. The Knicks might have been able to make a late push to get themselves in the playoffs with Lowry on board. That would potentially have made Carmelo Anthony less likely to listen to offers from other teams—assuming the Knicks were able to retain Lowry's services.
The Raptors would have clearly been tanking for a chance to draft Canadian prospect Andrew Wiggins with one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA draft.
As it stands, the Raptors got the best of this non-deal. The team reached the postseason and is set up to be one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference again this season. The Knicks have a new head coach in Derek Fisher, but based on talent alone, it's hard to see how the team will be much better than the one that missed the playoffs last year.
Because the deal didn't happen, this is just food for a fun "what if" discussion down the road as both the Knicks and Raptors' futures unfold over the next three years.
Minnesota Likes the Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young
If the Minnesota Timberwolves ever actually trade Kevin Love, it appears the team is targeting a more athletic player for the position.
Per ESPN.com's Marc Stein: "The Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed interest in Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young as a potential replacement for Kevin Love, according to sources close to the situation."
Young obviously isn't the scorer, rebounder or passer that Love is, but he is a better athlete and defender. If head coach and part-owner Flip Saunders wants to build a team to run and defend, tabbing Young makes sense.
Like Love, Young can become a free agent at the end of the upcoming season. The versatile forward had a career year for the lowly 76ers last season. He averaged a career high in points (17.9), steals (2.1) and assists (2.3),
If the Wolves can nab Young, he'd be a nice fit alongside Ricky Rubio and the other pieces Minny has put in place. That said, it seems they would be a long shot to retain his services considering they are rebuilding.
Young has toiled through some awful seasons in Philly. If a contender submits an offer for him that is anywhere close to what Minnesota offers, Young might be inclined to make his potential stay in Minnesota a short one.
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