Well my last article where I went through the entire league and assessed each team's degree of viability in landing Greg Monroe via a sign and trade went down really well, and I received a request to analyse any possible trades which may be conducted. The Pistons have 6 guys contracted who are untradeable until various deadlines lift. Jodie Meeks, D.J. Augustin, Caron Butler, Aaron Gray and Cartier Martin, who are all new FA signings, are unable to be traded before December 15 or after 3 months signing their contract, whichever comes later. However, does anyone else think it's a bit weird that the signings of Martin and Gray haven't been officially announced yet? There might be something that we don't know yet, like a potential cancellation of the signing of Gray and a reincarnation of Josh Harrellson (please let it be so). Also, Spencer Dinwiddie, once he signs with the team, will be untradeable for 30 days following the signing of the contract. Therefore, these 6 players have not been included in any potential trades listed below.
Due to timezone differences, while you Michiganders slept, I spent the day fiddling with the ESPN NBA Trade Machine (not the whole day, I do have some semblance of a life), trying to figure out beneficial trades for not only Greg Monroe, but Josh Smith as well, as a lot of discussion revolves around choosing one or the other. Therefore, some trades will include Smith, and some will include Monroe, but none will include both.
Also, in other news, apparently Lance Stephenson is on the verge of signing with Charlotte for 3yr/27 million. I was under the impression he rejected a 4yr/40 million offer from Indiana, therefore none of this makes sense to me, but we'll leave that to the folks over at Indy Cornrows and At The Hive for news on that.
Going through my article where I evaluated the whole league, I came up with the following list of potential trade partners:
Now before I go in detail, I'll say now that after fiddling with the Trade Machine, I just couldn't work a suitable trade for either the Cleveland Cavaliers (based on assets they have to offer and our current situation) and the Boston Celtics (based on their terrible financial situation), therefore no trades regarding those two teams will be in this article.
Another note, the NBA Trade Machine does not allow for the trading of draft picks, cash considerations, etc, so all these trades are simple player-for-player trades with some involving trade exceptions (TM [Trade Machine] does allow for that).
Without further ado, lets get into it.
San Antonio Spurs
I know I said that the Spurs didn't really have much to offer, but for the sake of it I decided to include them. It was really hard to get anything good for this trade, so I had to include a third team, the Orlando Magic, to get it done (the Magic will reappear later in another 3 team trade).
Pistons receive: Kawhi Leonard
Spurs receive: Evan Fournier, Greg Monroe
Magic receive: Will Bynum
The Pistons get an elite wing defender with a developing jump shot (he's better than Smith, basically) on a rookie deal which will more than likely be maxed out next offseason or at some point this season. The Spurs get another member for the international bench mob, plus the heir to Tim Duncan, who's likely done after this season. Monroe is a great fit for San Antonio due to his passing game and the Spurs' emphasis on ball-movement. The Magic get an experienced back up guard for their young backcourt of Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo. However, the simple fact is that San Antonio will not be trading Kawhi Leonard, a 23 year old Finals MVP set to earn just under $3 million next season.
Level of appeal: Very low, simply because of next to no chance of it happening.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Pistons receive: Reggie Jackson, Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb
Thunder receive: Greg Monroe, Will Bynum, Kyle Singler, Tony Mitchell
This trade is slightly appealing, if highly unlikely. No way that the Thunder part with three promising young players all on rookie-scale contracts. However, were it considered, the Pistons receive a developing 3 and D wing in Lamb, and a promising young center in Adams (Jackson is more there to balance contracts, but would likely push Augustin and Jennings, however three starter quality PGs may be problematic, you can't keep them all happy). The Thunder receive a skilled young center who would start ahead of Perkins (center was arguably OKC's biggest weakness last year, evidenced by their pursuit of Pau Gasol), a serviceable backup for Westbrook, a floor spacing 3 man and an athletic forward with crazy potential. However, again, this trade just isn't that realistic, and it may not work as we don;t know what Monroe will earn, and how the salaries will match up.
Level of appeal: OK, but again, not much chance of it happening here.
Raptors receive: Josh Smith, Will Bynum, Kyle Singler
The first Smith trade. This is unlikely due to Toronto's unwillingness to break up their core which helped them so well last year, but from a Pistons perspective, I'd pull the trigger no questions asked. Detroit would receive an immediate upgrade at the 3 in DeRozan, who, at 6'7", has the length and athleticism to guard SFs better than Kyle Singler, as well as a very promising backup swingman in Terrence Ross, who dropped 51 last year. However, it's a tough sell for the Raptors, but an attempt would be, a legitimate, athletic frontcourt mate for Jonas Valanciunas, a serviceable backup for Kyle Lowry, and an effective, floor spacing 3. However, Toronto probably aren't this stupid (they somehow convinced Sacramento to take Rudy Gay), and therefore are unlikely to accept this.
Level of appeal: Very high, but only a "Michael Jordan giving Hayward a max contract meets Isiah Thomas giving Eddy Curry a contract period meets Dumars 2009" moment from Masai Ujiri would ever see this happen.
I only include the Rockets because a fair few people in the comments see value in a trade with them. However, two names who kept coming up, Clint Capela and Nick Johnson, are untradeable under the aforementioned draft pick rule. However, this is what myself and the TM sputtered out.
Pistons receive: Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley
Rockets receive: Greg Monroe, Will Bynum, Tony Mitchell
In truth this is a fairly intriguing trade, as the Pistons would add a back up, floor spacing 4 man as well as possibly the best defensive PG in the league, whilst giving up possibly one of the worst. The Rockets receive a legitimate frontcourt mate for Howard, an experienced PG and a project forward. However, it leaves Houston's PG depth very weak after trading Lin earlier in FA and Aaron Brooks last season, plus there is an issue on Monroe's potential salary.
Level of appeal: Intriguing, but salary doubts plus Houston's lack of PG depth make this unlikely.
Golden State Warriors
Pistons receive: Klay Thompson
Rockets receive: Greg Monroe, Will Bynum
Golden State's willingness to potentially include Thompson in any Kevin Love trade shows they are open to parting ways at the right price. The Pistons would add one half of the Splash Brothers, the deadliest marksmen in the league, who also happens to be a fairly decent wing defender due to his size at 6'7". Warriors would essentially receive a Stephen Curry backup (also, it might be unknown that Bynum actually started his career at Golden State in 2005 before heading overseas), and a clone of David Lee in Monroe, a left handed post presence with a polished, all-around offensive game and lacklustre defense. The fact that Monroe and Lee are similar, however, is the doubt in this trade, as there are too many variable about what happens in their Kevin Love pursuit.
Level of appeal: Decent, but Warriors' other plans make it doubtful.
Portland Trail Blazers/Phoenix Suns
I include these two together because neither can offer a decent package on their own, but together a decent deal can be had for the Pistons, even if the other two are left slightly shortchanged.
Suns receive: Robin Lopez, Kyle Singler, Tony Mitchell
Wow. If I was SVG, and this trade came through the phones, I'd be scrambling to sign the paperwork. Forget for a moment that this trade basically screws up Portland and Phoenix, lets analyse the Pistons end. A 3 and D wing. Check. A quality PG (better than our current ones anyway) capable of playing minutes at SG despite his lack of size at 6'1". Check. Backup athletic freak center for our starting athletic freak center. Check. In all honesty, Portland and Phoenix aren't too affected either. Portland have a hole now at the 3, but a big rotation of Aldridge, Monroe and Kaman is pretty damn imposing. And Phoenix are prepared to seemingly lose Bledsoe by signing Isaiah Thomas, so they're covered.
Level of appeal: Very high, maybe not overly realistic, but holy smokes would it be good.
Same as Houston, I only include them due to popular demand. However, Noah Vonleh, a comment favourite, is again untradeable due to the draft pick rule. Also, a third team was needed to make this even remotely plausible.
Pistons receive: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller
Hornets receive: Josh Smith, Tony Mitchell, Tony Wroten
76ers receive: Gary Neal
Forgive me for not being overly excited about this trade. Yes we get rid of Smith, but are effectively replacing him with himself in Kidd-Gilchrist, a wing defender who, possibly, is an even worse shooter than Smith (who coached MKG in HS for him to get that funky action? They should be fired). Cody Zeller is a supposed floor spacing 4 man who didn't space the floor last season. The Hornets would get Smith to pair next to Al Jefferson in the frontcourt, and two athletic Tonys in Mitchell and Wroten. 76ers, keeping with their theme of being terrible, only acquire an under-performing Gary Neal, mirroring their tanking ideals.
Level of appeal: No thanks.
No matter what people think, the Bucks were not trying to be bad last season. It was just Sanders' slight violence problem, Mayo's weight and general crappy play, and general inexperience which led to them being the worst team in the league, even worse than the openly-tanking 76ers, who once lost 26 in a row (the streak-ending win? Pistons...). Again, the Magic make an appearance as a third team (remember what I said before?).
Bucks receive: Josh Smith, Kyle Singler, Maurice Harkless
Magic receive: Tony Mitchell, Chris Wright, trade exception worth $1.9 million
The Pistons receive a versatile big who can stretch the floor in Ilyasova, as well as biting the bullet and re-acquiring Middleton (who we can reacquire as he was traded last season). Milwaukee gets another shot blocker in Smith for a terrifying frontcourt of Smith and Sanders (in theory, attitude and general combined lack of intelligent play may undermine chances of success), plus a reimbursement for Middleton in Singler. Magic are there as fillers, although convincing them to part with Mo Harkless may be hard. I'm not going to pretend that I've heard of Chris Wright either.
Level of appeal: Decent, relies on Magic's willingness to participate
Nuggets receive: Greg Monroe, Will Bynum, Luigi Datome
This is a good trade with the exception of being forced to throw Datome in to match contracts. It's a bit early to give up on him yet, especially if he can reproduce his Italian League MVP form next season. For the Pistons, they receive an instant starter at either the 3 or the 4 in Gallinari, who can stretch the floor. His only doubt would be his rehabilitation after missing all of last season due to botched knee surgery. We would also acquire Arthur, a serviceable backup big man. It was a toss-up between him and Jan Vesely, as they both earn around $3.5 million, but I picked Arthur as he is not a complete liability on offense, and can make a free throw (Vesely is .408 for his NBA career, to put this in perspective, Drummond is .401 for his NBA career, Arthur is career .759, coming off an .855 season). The Nuggets would receive an upgrade at 4-5 in Monroe, depending on how they use him, a backup for Ty Lawson/Nate Robinson, and an unproven yet supposedly deadly shooting small forward.
Level of appeal: Fairly high, but would rather not give up on Datome so quickly.
That concludes the evaluation of possible landing spots for Greg Monroe (or Josh Smith, depending on which trade you like). As I said previously in yesterday's Fanpost, Monroe's market is drying up, so the chances of him staying a Piston are probably higher than any of these trades happening at this point in time. If you have any queries, or perhaps can suggest another trade, feel free to discuss below, the whole point is to start the discussion.
Finally, lets leave the last word to Andre Drummond, who may consider a career in marketing/recruitment once his NBA career is over.