How close were the Detroit Pistons to trading Greg Monroe?
The Pistons could have traded Greg Monroe, but Stan Van Gundy opted to keep his big three intact.
The Detroit Pistons didn’t have to keep Greg Monroe. Stan Van Gundy, team president and head coach, had offers for the fifth-year player out of Georgetown this summer, according to Shams Charania of Real GM. But Van Gundy opted to keep the big man along with Josh Smith and Andre Drummond, signing Monroe to a one-year qualifier with hopes that a strong season would convince Monroe to sign an extension in the offseason.
The move has backfired. The Pistons are off to a 3-17 start and their big three continues to struggle, much like last year. It’s a low point for an organization that has been in decline since the strong run from 2000-2008 that included the 2004 title.
At this point, Monroe will stay a Piston for the rest of the season thanks to his veto power to maintain Bird Rights and will sign with a new team in the offseason. Detroit could have traded Monroe this summer, instead they’ll play out the rest of the year and get nothing in return for the big man.
Why the Pistons should have traded Monroe
The big-three unit of Smith, Drummond and Monroe was doomed from the start. The Pistons struggled in 2014, winning just 29 games with the big three. Somehow, they’ve gotten worse with Van Gundy at the helm. Monroe, for his part, is playing solid basketball. He’s averaging 14.4 points and 9.3 rebound per game after putting up 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds last year. At many times, he’s the only one who can get the offense going on a lackluster Pistons team. The problem for the Pistons, however, is he won’t be around next year. And instead of gaining assets, they’re going to be left with nothing.
Van Gundy wasn’t left with much to work with when he took over the Pistons this past summer, but one thing seemed clear to those familiar with the organization: the big three didn’t work. Van Gundy could have gone a new route in getting rid of Monroe, but decided to stick it out.
Why it didn’t happen
Van Gundy believed that the Pistons could succeed with Monroe, Smith and Drummond. He wanted to keep his big three intact, even if they had proven again and again they didn’t mesh on the basketball court. Each player is skilled individually, and Van Gundy was under the impression the Pistons could thrive with all three.
According to Charania, the Pistons had options, but Van Gundy wanted more:
Several NBA teams had pitched sign-and-trades scenarios to the Pistons’ front office, but Van Gundy responded with a turn-off: The president and coach requested All-Star caliber players in return, league sources told RealGM. In one instance, two other franchises had agreed to a three-team deal that needed the Pistons’ acceptance, delivering Monroe a maximum-level contract. Opposing team executives involved pushed for it. Only, Detroit rejected.
If Detroit was going to trade Monroe, Van Gundy wanted an All-Star-caliber player in return. But no team was going to offer up a star for Monroe, who will be available this coming summer when multiple teams should have the cap space to sign Monroe.
How close were the Pistons to trading Monroe?
Stan Van Gundy’s pride got the best of him this summer. He truly believed — against all odds — that he was going to make Detroit’s big three work. Van Gundy is respected throughout the league for his coaching skills, but this was a major mistake. According to Real GM, there was an offer on the table, but Van Gundy nixed it. There was a 1 out of 10 shot that Detroit was going to trade Monroe. Sadly for Detroit, Van Gundy should have made a trade.