The Detroit Pistons are struggling with their three big-man lineup and Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent next summer, but management isn't considering a Monroe trade at this time, according to Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
The Pistons are currently 14-22 and have lost six games in a row. There are plenty of issues with the team, but one of the biggest is the fit of Monroe, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond playing together. When Detroit signed Smith to a four-year, $54 million deal this past offseason, there were plenty of questions about spacing on offense, but the defense when all three have been on the court has been poor as well.
Over at ProBasketballTalk, Dan Feldman looked at some lineup data and discovered the Pistons are much better when a combination of any two of the big men are playing together as opposed to when all three are on the court at the same time. This would seem to signal that perhaps one of the bigs should come off the bench, or more drastically, a trade should be consummated.
Monroe is the most logical of the three to be dealt because of his contract status. The 23-year-old will likely get a max offer in restricted free agency, and the Pistons have to decide if they want to match that kind of money and continue to move forward with Monroe, Smith and Drummond all on the roster. Drummond will be up for an extension soon, so that must also be taken into account.
The ideal return in a Monroe deal would be some help on the wing, which would allow Smith to slide over to his natural position at the 4. But according to Ellis, Monroe trade discussions just aren't happening.
Ellis does admit the stance on Monroe could change, and situations like this are often fluid. Just days ago, there was a general consensus among Chicago media that Luol Deng wouldn't be traded for Andrew Bynum, but a deal went down anyway. So while a Monroe trade isn't likely in the immediate future, don't rule one out before the deadline if the Pistons continue to struggle.
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