It's trade rumors season - hooray? Usually, that means Pistons fans will get their hopes up, only to be terribly disappointed by non-action, or as was the case last year, a trade for an expiring contract.
This year, things are different. A summer that brought the largest free agent acquisition in franchise history, Josh Smith, had expectations soaring, but the reality is little different from one season ago. The fanbase is polarized by the fact that Josh Smith is known for being a better power forward than Greg Monroe, and the franchise appears to be committed to Josh Smith as a power forward after the small forward experiment has largely failed. This is Joe Dumars' last year under contract, and he has every incentive to get the Pistons to the Playoffs this season.
It was inevitable, and now it's happening: trade rumors from legitimate sources are surfacing that Greg Monroe may be on the trading block.
Alex Kennedy is reporting that the franchise is conflicted on how to proceed between now and the trade deadline but also that the Washington Wizards want Greg Monroe.
Should the Pistons keep their roster as currently constructed and give this group more time together? There are some decision-makers in the organization who look at the weak Eastern Conference and feel this is the best way to proceed.
Should the Pistons make a move before the deadline since their players haven't fit together as expected? There are some decision-makers in Detroit who look at the ill-fitting pieces and feel this is the best way to proceed.
One team that is interested in Monroe is the Washington Wizards, according to multiple league sources. It's becoming clear that Washington is planning to pursue Monroe, either through trade or free agency.
Mike Prada has more from the Wizards' perspective at Bullets Forever. First, from the perspective of pursuing him in free agency when the time comes:
Ultimately, Monroe is a big man that can be a load inside and has nice passing instincts, but isn't the best shooter and needs work defensively. I think his array of positive skills outweigh his negatives and I would feel OK breaking the bank for him myself, because if the Wizards don't sign him for, say, $13-14 million, they'll just end up paying $10 million or so for Gortat or someone else. Monroe is several years younger and already much better than Gortat, so his prime dovetails nicely with Wall's.
But more urgently, from the perspective of trading for Monroe:
The Wizards, sad to say, just don't have that much to offer in a trade.
Fortunately, I'm inclined to agree. Without a much larger three-team trade, Washington isn't a great trade partner for Detroit. Otto Porter is an interesting prospect, but he won't help winning now, so that option seems unlikely. I can see Dumars jumping at Bradley Beal, but would the Wizards part with him so soon?
I think it's safe to say this particular bullet will be dodged, but brace yourself - I have a feeling it's going to be a long month with lots more stories like this one.