Would trading Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey for Arron Afflalo and Tobias help Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic?

Chad Ford from his ESPN SportsNation chat on Dec. 30: 

(Orlando) probably should’ve traded him for Eric Bledsoe this summer when (they) had the chance. Now that’s the standard and I’m not sure there’s a better deal out there, despite the fact that Afflalo has been playing at an All-Star level all year. One deal I think would make sense — Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey for Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris.

Interesting idea — and one that really doesn’t drastically favor either side — but it’s tough to envision a deal like that actually going down this season.

For one, reports have said they won’t be trading Stuckey, and it’s probably a smart bet that they’d only look to realistically move Monroe as a part of some sort of blockbuster deal today.

But, Ford’s right: Afflalo is in the midst of his most successful season as a pro. He”s actually looking eerily similar to the guy who starred on UCLA’s 2006 Final Four team.

He’d be a perfect fit for what this Pistons’ team desperately needs — shooting and perimeter defense with a little bit of playoff experience thrown in for good measure.

But the dilemma is deciphering whether this is simply just an impressive stretch or if Afflalo has actually turned the corner as a player. Orlando’s got a talented roster, but they’re also 10-games under .500, so is Afflalo just filling up the stat-sheet for a bad team?

Almost all of his numbers are at career-best levels, so that adds to those sustainability questions.

There’s a chance Afflalo could finally have blossomed into what some thought he was moving toward in Denver, but he could also be this year’s O.J. Mayo, sans a contract year.

Tobias Harris is a nice prospect who put together some very impressive games last season. I’ve got my doubts on whether he’s any better suited defensively to be a full-time small forward than Josh Smith, but he’s very well suited to do the job offensively.

Due to a number of injury issues, he’s gotten off to a slow start this season, so his value may have dipped a bit, but he’d still bring athleticism, rebounding and a much-needed shooter from deep to the Pistons.

As for the outgoing pieces, this is the kind of deal that makes some sense for the “Trade Greg Monroe” crowd. Monroe is a one-way player today, but trades and re-signings aren’t about the now. When you re-sign a young player, you’re valuing him for what he will bring to the table down the road — not what they’ll do tomorrow.

The big thing with this hypothetical is that Monroe is going to get better; that’s the logical step for a 23-year-old who’s improved steadily since he got into the NBA. Is Afflalo, 28, going to keep seeing this late-career boom as he enters his 30s?  He’s under contract until 2015-16, and he’s got a player option for $7.75 million that he’d likely accept in that final season.

Like Afflalo, Stuckey is probably playing the best ball of his career right now. That’s likely related to his impending free agency, but the combination of him playing well and having a big expiring contract may be attractive to Orlando if they decide that tanking is the way to go — even though they only trail the Pistons by 2.5 games for the final playoff seed in the East.

If you’re the Pistons and you’re not loving the future of the jumbo trio, this isn’t a bad deal at all. It’s a short term fix that doesn’t put the team in a horrible position going forward.

What do you think?

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Tags: Arron Afflalo Greg Monroe Josh Smith Rodney Stuckey Tobias Harris

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