When the Detroit Pistons shockingly waived Josh Smith, the team's official statement indicated the move was done, in part, to give Detroit's younger players a bigger opportunity. The team's season was lost so it made sense to focus solely on the future. That is, until Detroit even more shockingly ripped off seven wins in a row and now find themselves legitimately in the thick of a playoff race.
But after canvassing the league's GMs, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report lists several players he hears are available and two names that crop up are Greg Monroe and Brandon Jennings.
Two things. One, this impression might be based on slightly outdated information. It was only two weeks ago the Pistons were sitting at 5-23 and had every reason to sell just about any player not named Andre Drummond. Two, a trade of Greg Monroe is nearly impossible because he likely has a very limited market and would have to agree to any trade. If he agrees to a trade he eliminates his Bird rights, the ability for a team to go over the cap to re-sign him. He wants to retain those rights to either make the most money (if he signs with the Pistons) or have a maximum number of suitors this summer (Detroit could facilitate a sign-and-trade with a contending team over the salary cap interested in Monroe).
Jennings, however, is probably a more complicated story. Jennings is playing excellent (if unsustainable) basketball since the Smith release. His backup, DJ Augustin, has come on lately, but he has his own large set of positives and negatives. The fact is, unless you're super high on Spencer Dinwiddie, there is a good chance the point guard of the future is not currently on Detroit's roster.
Perhaps the Pistons would still be interested in selling high on Jennings, but it would require that they get back either a nice pick or salary relief. The cost would be to make the awfully thin at the point guard spot, so a deal is still unlikely. If the team is serious about a playoff push, and it should be, they probably can't afford to trade Jennings right now.
Speaking of trades, if Detroit Bad Boy's Twitter feed (follow it, it's great) is any indication, there has also been an influx of excited fans wanting Detroit to make a trade, particularly at small forward, to bolster its postseason chances. Despite how awesome it is to win seven in a row, the team still sits at 12-23 and will have an uphill climb to reach the playoffs. They are simply not in a position to give up future value to make minimal roster improvements.The only trade you're likely to see in Detroit is one around the fringes of the rotation, like the one that saw Detroit give up on the never-used Tony Mitchell in exchange for Antony Tolliver, a stretch-four whose contract is only partially guaranteed next year. It was a smart low-risk move that cost essentially nothing. Plus, it brought on the Tolliver Effect.