Joe Dumars seemed exasperated when denying that he's tried to trade Brandon Knight or inquired about restricted free agent Brandon Jennings. And yet ... just a few breaths later, he also made it clear that he's ready and willing to make more moves this summer should the right deal cross his desk. OK.
It's a delicate balance trying to signal your intentions to other general managers while maintaining the trust of your current roster, and I'm not really sure it can be done without lying -- either overtly to the media or by omission to the players. But it's a task every general manager must juggle.
With that in mind, take these comments from Greg Monroe with a grain of salt. From Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver, speaking to Monroe in Las Vegas at Team USA's minicamp: ,
“I have a very close relationship, as do most players who play for the Pistons, with the front office,” Monroe said. “They communicate with us very well. … There’s always going to be speculation, people are going to make up stuff, they’re going to hear stuff, they’re going to write it. I don’t worry about it. I’m very happy being a Piston and I hope they’re very happy with me. As far as I know, they like me.”
[...] “I think neither of us want a change,” Monroe said of his standing with the Pistons. “People are going to write stuff. I just laugh at it most of the time, because it’s foolish. That’s how people get paid nowadays. Guys like us have to live with it because we can’t comment on it. It’s going to happen. As long as I know the truth, I’m fine with it.”
For reference, here's Tayshaun Prince in January, two weeks before being dealt to the Grizzlies:
"There's been times Joe has come to me and said, 'here's what's going on, yada-yada-yada, this is what it is' and left it at that and gave me clear (perspective) about what's going on," Prince said. "It's not like I've been left out the loop. It's not been 'I'm trying to trade you and I haven't liked these deals'. There's been nothing like that. I'm not worried about it."
THAT BEING SAID, I'm not saying that Monroe will / should / might be traded, or that Dumars has ever entertained the thought. It just means that whatever Dumars tells Monroe doesn't mean anything at all. Prince learned that lesson, Billups learned that lesson, almost every NBA player who's ever been traded has learned that lesson.
It's probably easier for Monroe to laugh than, say, Brandon Knight, considering that Monroe hasn't actually been mentioned in many (any?) rumors. Sure, a lot of fans and pundits have suggested that Dumars might want to move Monroe following Josh Smith's arrival, but I can't recall any NBA reporters suggesting (either in article form or vague tweets about "whispers") Dumars is actually attempting to do so.
The reason? If I had to guess, it's because Dumars honestly believes his all-big-everything experiment will work -- or is at least curious to see it in action before making a final decision. Monroe is optimistic in that regard, as well. From Golliver:
“I’m definitely interested in getting into it and seeing how we play together,” he said. “Most nights, we’re going to be bigger than everyone. We have to get into the gym together, work together, so we’re ready to go for the season. … [Smith is] a very versatile player. There’s no question he can guard threes, he can put it on the floor, he can make outside shots. I know a lot of people are worrying about it, but I think as players, us three, being intelligent players, we’re going to be able to work it out. The coaching staff are very intelligent people. I know a lot of people are worried about it, but we’ll be fine.”
Golliver also spoke to Drummond about the possibility of more moves for the Pistons and his outstanding summer league performance. His answers are worth checking out, but I'm going to resist the urge to blockquote everything, though -- just click over and read the whole thing.
Now your thoughts.