With a league-wide dead period putting NBA action on hold until later this week (Friday in the case of the Pistons), that has left an ample amount of time to ponder Detroit’s standing leading up to this week’s trade deadline (Thursday, 3 p.m.). In the case of impending unrestricted free agent Greg Monroe, head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy cut right to the chase last week.
“It’s not gonna happen,” Van Gundy said last Wednesday. “I don’t know where Greg’s head will be in the offseason, but we’re still hopeful of Greg Monroe for the long term. And with him going into free agency, you won’t get a lot, maybe a pick. I’m not gonna walk in that locker room and give up a piece like that and then tell the guys we’re trying to make the playoffs. They deserve the chance to ride this out. You never say never to anything, but I can tell you about 99.9 percent, Greg Monroe’s not going anywhere.”
While dealing Monroe would likely signal the end of the Pistons’ playoff chase (for which they currently stand two games back of the eighth seed), completing such a trade would also include various complications. For one, Monroe holds the right to veto any potential trade.
Secondly, even in the event of being open to a move, Monroe may be seen by other ball clubs as nothing more than a 28-game rental. While a few teams may be in position for a short-term boost, most will likely figure it may not be worth losing assets to acquire a player who’s just going to be an unrestricted free agent come June.
While Monroe appears destined to play out the remainder of the 2014-2015 season in Detroit, that doesn’t mean the Pistons will be standing pat on the trade front. However, with movable assets limited, it remains unlikely that the Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower will find a deal that helps the team both in the short term and long term.
“Making the playoffs would be a tremendous thing for this organization, and we want to do everything we can to get that done, but without compromising our future,” Van Gundy said. “You’re not gonna see us tanking. But at the same time, you’re not gonna see us give up a first-round pick or two second-round picks to bring in a guy who maybe gives us more depth, but is a two-month rental.”
Prior to signing John Lucas III to a 10-day contract earlier in the month, the Pistons were mentioned in talks with the Miami Heat for the services of backup point guard Norris Cole. In terms of favorable contracts available for trade, forward Jonas Jerebko (1-year, $4.5 million) stands as one of the few on the Pistons roster that may help facilitate a deal.
In the end, we’re not counting on it.