Tinkering with the NBA Trade Machine: Greg Monroe to the Phoenix Suns?

Thanks to the ESPN NBA Trade Machine and the maniacal, trade-creating brain of Brady, this is new feature that will showcase trade possibilities for the Pistons. These are obviously hypothetical, and the goal is to not only find a trade that improves the Pistons, but also gives the trade partner value as well. Post your thoughts in the comments, and if you have any tweaks, let them fly. It’s also worth noting that players who were signed this offseason are not eligible to be traded until Dec. 15


1. Why would the Pistons do this trade?

Brady Fredericksen, PistonPowered: This is probably something that only happens if the jumbo trio of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith is deemed a failure. There’s value here for the Pistons both on and off the court, though. The fear of having to max-out Monroe when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer is gone, which means more cash to spend on other players.

You’re also getting a really good guard in Goran Dragic. Some fans aren’t super familiar with him since he’s been stuck either as a backup or on a terrible team. He’s just a fun player offensively, and he’s more than capable of playing either guard spot. He’d alleviate spacing issues, he’d give the Pistons another ball handler and potentially allow for the team to explore deals for Brandon Jennings, if they so desired.

Marcus Morris is a good shooter (44 percent from 3-point range), and affordable role player for a team that needs floor spacers.

2. Why would the Suns do this trade?

Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: The Suns would do this trade if they feel like Monroe is one of the cornerstones they want to build their franchise around along with Eric Bledsoe and their treasure trove of draft picks. In Bledsoe and Monroe, the Suns would have two building block pieces at critical positions just entering their primes, players who they could lock up for several seasons this offseason.

Such an acquisition would provide some certainty to the Suns’ rebuilding plan and give the team a pair of potentially budding stars to usher in this new era of Suns basketball. The trade would also provide clarity at the point guard spot with Bledsoe being the unquestioned point guard and leader of the team, as opposed to the current situation where both Bledsoe and Dragic are kind of sharing that role.

3. Why wouldn’t the Pistons do this trade?

Brady Fredericksen: The upside of Monroe and the $8.5 million that comes with Charlie Villanueva’s contact probably out-weighs whatever Dragic and Morris provide. There’s no doubting Dragic’s ability  with the ball in his hands on offense, but he’s not a great defender. The defensive potential that comes with a backcourt of Dragic (meh) and Jennings (barf) lacks size and leaves much to be desired.

This deal would also open up a hole at small forward. Can Kyle Singler fill that role as a starter? Sure. Could Caldwell-Pope give you some minutes there despite his frail frame? Sure. Same goes for Morris, who’s played reasonably well at that spot in limited minutes this year. It just leaves a lot to be desired on defense. There’s also the concern that the Morris Twins are playing well because they’re together again — like they just have some sort of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito ‘Twins’ telepathy?

4. Why wouldn’t the Suns do this trade?

Michael Schwartz: They shouldn’t do this because they will have to break the bank to re-sign both of them, and this move really only makes sense if the Suns fully intend on paying what it will cost to do that. Without Dragic, the Suns would have no natural point guard replacement on the roster in the event another team makes an offer to Bledsoe they want to refuse.

Dragic’s presence on the roster provides some semblance of leverage to the Suns over Bledsoe that they would lose in this trade, not to mention the fact that Bledsoe’s 2013-14 numbers will likely improve without Dragic handling point guard touches.

Monroe will likely cost a similar price. In fact, it would be no surprise if the Suns would need to offer/match mini-max extensions to sign both Monroe and Bledsoe. The Suns would only have about $20 million in 2014-15 salary commitments without Dragic and Morris, so they could afford that, but that would severely limit their salary flexibility in future seasons.The deal also would break up the Morris twins, who are enjoying their best years as pros and have professed for years they are much better together than apart.

5. So, what’s the final verdict?

Brady Fredericksen: It works for both teams. Phoenix gets an influx of talent at a position of need, while Detroit gets needed balance without losing out horribly in terms of incoming talent. One issue this does present for Detroit is fit, again. It is better fitting than the current roster, but it’s still a team that would need more tweaking.

Luckily, Joe Dumars would still have plenty of options moving forward.

Michael Schwartz: Overall, the big question the Suns would need to answer is whether they would want to build around Bledsoe and Monroe at near mini-max salaries, if not the mini-max. This trade makes no sense unless the Suns are prepared to make that commitment.

I don’t think a team can win a championship with Bledsoe and Monroe as their two best players, but I would do this deal anyways because of the kind of all-around team the Suns have the opportunity to build with the young players they have already acquired and the six first-round draft picks they have coming to them in the next two seasons. The Suns need impact talent more than anything, and adding all those draft picks to a core starting with Bledsoe and Monroe could make the Suns one of the NBA’s better up-and-coming teams in a few years.


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