Trading Greg Monroe would be a massive mistake. It would be one of the single most foolish things that the Pistons front office could possibly do. Yet his name keeps popping up as being necessary to trade for one reason or another.
Because Andre Drummond is good. Because Josh Smith can't shoot. Because he's good and will need to be paid accordingly. For some reason, folks seem to think these are good reasons to trade Greg Monroe.
Greg Monroe should not be traded. The Pistons have perhaps the best young frontcourt pairing in the league. Breaking it up would be asinine. But since it's asininely being talked about, let's talk about it. If the Pistons moved Greg Monroe, what should be expected in return?
By the numbers, Greg Monroe is the best big man in the league aged 23 or under. Know how many players currently 23 or younger who have put up more than 15 points, 9 rebounds, a couple of assists while keeping under 3 turnovers per game? One. Moose. And he's done it twice. There's really not even anyone close to him for the title of best big 23 or younger. Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond might eventually be better, but right now? Nope.
Did you know that he's also the best player to come out of the past three drafts? He has the highest number of win shares with 19.5 and no player has averaged more than the 6.5 that he's averaged over that time period. Not Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, or Faried, even though they all played for better teams than the Pistons (and the win shares statistic is often criticized as favoring players on stronger teams).
So what should be the starting point for trade negotiations for the best player out of the past three drafts, the best big man in the league under 23 years old, who is still on his rookie salary? A. Freaking. Lot.
The closest example would be James Harden. Prior to his trade to Houston, he was also the leader of his draft class in win shares and the best young player at his position in the league. Oklahoma City brought back two first round picks, a rookie lottery pick, and a very solid veteran on a very solid contract.
When Al Jefferson was traded from Boston, he had only one strong season under his belt after three years in the league. It was a very good season, but he hadn't shown anywhere near the promise or consistency that Greg Monroe has to date - not even on a per minute basis. In return for him, Boston received a 30 year old MVP and 10 time All Star. Boston included a pick and a few other young players, but just mid-first round fodder. Jefferson was the piece Minnesota was after.
Two common names discussed as potential trade targets involving Monroe have been Rajon Rondo and LaMarcus Aldridge. Based on the Harden and Jefferson deals, Boston or Portland would need to add significantly with multiple first round picks and young talent to even begin to deserve consideration - something neither team would be likely to do.
So who out there would work for a Jefferson-Garnett type swap? Garnett was 30 years old and had just put up 10.7 win shares, which was a decline from averaging 16 the previous four years. He was a top 5 player in the league just exiting his prime. Translating for the league's current landscape, that'd essentially be Dwyane Wade. Only Garnett was better than Wade. And Jefferson wasn't as good as Monroe. But that's the type of scale we should talking about here.
It's difficult to imagine a trade involving Moose that makes sense for both sides. But if a team wants to knock on the door to make an offer equal to Monroe's actual value, fine, hear them out. But that team will need to bring the goods.