As we began to approach the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline, it is time to take a look at possible trade targets, as well as possible Pistons on the trade block this season.
The Pistons are sitting on a (14-19) record 33 games into the 2013-2014 season. This places Detroit in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, behind the Washington Wizards (5th), Toronto Raptors (4th), and the Atlanta Hawks (3rd). Detroit is just 4 games behind the third seeded Hawks as they head into the dog days of the NBA season.
With some internal turmoil, injury woes, and a struggling Pistons team as a whole, it may be time to bring in some new blood to help rejuvenate this Detroit team to help push them to their first playoff appearance in 5 years.
As Detroit still try’s to work out the kinks in their “Big Lineup,” they may look to ship out a member of the starting frontline to help spread the floor for their bigs in the paint, as well as adopting a more traditional lineup.
In this article we will be looking at both sides of things, potential Pistons on the trade block, as well as targets in the league the Detroit front office may be zoning in on.
PISTONS ON THE BLOCK:
- As the deadline looms, Detroit has plenty of options when it comes to the trade market. They also have a lot of options for opposing teams to look at when it comes to hammering out a trade.
Detroit has an abundance of guards (Bynum, Billups, Caldwell-Pope, Stuckey, Jennings), star caliber players (Jennings, Monroe, Drummond, Smith), as well as expiring contracts (Stuckey UFA [$8.50 million], Villanueva UFA [$8.58 million], Greg Monroe RFA [$4.08 million]). With a subpar start to the year, a team could come in a scoop up one of these expiring contracts from Detroit in exchange for help off the bench as well as help on the perimeter.
Detroit, who may look to deal one of their bigs (I’m looking at you Greg Monroe), may be better off trading for a traditional wing instead of forcing Josh Smith to play a position he quite frankly can’t play.
With touches in the post being taken away by the presence of Josh Smith, it is very possible that Greg may not want to resign with Detroit in the offseason. Joe Dumars may want to get all he can for Monroe at the deadline instead of waiting until this summer.
1.) Charlie Villanueva
- Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent in 2014 ($8.58 million)
- 2013-2014 Statistics: 5.1 PPG; 1.4 RPG; 40.5% FG
- Career Statistics: 11.6 PPG; 5.2 RPG; 44% FG
- Detroit Pistons power forward Charlie Villanueva has been all but glued to the bench for Detroit this season, but he still has value on the trade market as the deadline inches closer and closer. His play may not be doing himself or the Pistons any favors, but his $8.58 million expiring contract sure as heck is.
Teams looking for financial flexibility or simply trying to tank for a high draft pick in this year’s stacked draft class, may want to swing a deal for an expiring contract such as Villanueva’s.
What can Charlie fetch for Detroit? As part of a package deal, Charlie V’s contract is a nice thrown piece to make any deal appealing. By himself, Detroit can find some much needed bench production by taking on a role player or two that match salary wise.
All in all, it is a pretty safe bet that Detroit will look to deal Charlie Villanueva and his contract before the trade deadline.
2.) Rodney Stuckey
- Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent in 2014($8.50 million)
- 2013-2014 Statistics: 14 PPG; 2.2 APG; 2.2 RPG
- Career Statistics: 13.4 PPG; 4.1 APG; 3 RPG
- As Stuckey continues his career season for the Pistons, he has seemed to hit a bit of a bump in the road with his recent injury struggles. Stuckey has nursed that right shoulder injury of his over the past several games as he aggravated it again in Washington against the Wizards. Rodney has already missed six games this season, as Detroit has struggled in bench production in his absence.
With Stuck’s expiring deal and the fact that he very well may be having his best season as a Piston, Detroit may be able to get a nice player or maybe even a draft pick in return.
If the Pistons are intent on resigning Power Forward/Center Greg Monroe in the offseason, there is a good chance neither or just one of them (Villanueva or Stuckey) are dealt.
3.) Greg Monroe
- Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent in 2014 ($4.08 million)
- 2013-2014 Statistics: 14.5 PPG; 8.9 RPG; 2 APG
- Career Statistics: 13.9 PPG; 8.9 RPG; 2.3 APG
- Greg “The Moose” Monroe has taken a step back this season with the arrival of forward Josh Smith. Smith, who has taken touches away from Monroe in the post and overall this season, was given a huge multi-year deal in the offseason, and it is unlikely they deal the multi-talented forward as the “Big Ball” concept continues to struggle in Detroit.
As for Monroe, well, he may not be a Piston even if Detroit decides to keep him the rest of the season as he is set to become a Restricted Free Agent next summer and will demand a hefty contract to keep him in Motown. Unless Detroit can drastically turn around their recent success with their “Big” rotation, there is no reason to commit long-term to Monroe with Smith and Drummond under contract.
That is why I expect the Pistons to test the market, if they haven’t already, and see what is available before resigning Moose Monroe.
- It is no secret the Pistons have a plethora of guards and expiring contracts that they can use as trade chips come deadline time. With the recent struggles and internal turmoil the Pistons experienced in the month of December, Detroit may look to shake things up as they aim to make a run at one of the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference come playoff time.
With Piston forward Josh Smith playing an unfamiliar position in small forward this season and producing what many people thought Smith would do at the three, career low’s in most every key category, Detroit General Manager Joe Dumars may want to abort his recent roster construction to save his job.
Adding a traditional three or sharp shooting two guard could help space the floor and solve the Piston recent dilemma on the offensive end. Dumars will have a lot of thinking to do leading up to trade deadline on whether or not to break up the Detroit “Big Three.”
These two trade targets may have Joe pondering a move or two.
1.) Marcus Thornton
- Current Team: Sacramento Kings
- Position: Shooting Guard
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 205 LBS
- Age: 26
- Experience: 4 Years
- 2013-2014 Statistics: 8.4 PPG; 3.2 RPG; 31% 3FG
- Career Statistics: 13.4 PPG; 3.1 RPG; 36% 3FG
- Potential Trade:
-Charlie Villanueva (1-year, $8.58 million)
- Marcus Thornton (2-years, $8.05 million)
- In this somewhat minor move, Dumars sends Charlie Villanueva and his expiring deal to Sacramento for a shooting guard that can stretch the floor with his perimeter jump shot in Marcus Thornton. Thornton has had limited opportunities to prove himself this season as he is only averaging 23 minutes a contest off the bench for the Kings, as rookie Ben McLemore hogs all the minutes for Sacramento at the shooting guard position.
The reason the Kings make this deal is for one reason, financial flexibility. As Sacramento and their new ownership group move forward, they have proved already this season they are not scared to make roster moves. With Villanueva’s $8.58 million expiring contract, the roughly $5 million of cash from Jimmer Fredette and Aaron Gray’s expiring deals, the Kings will have the money to resign emerging young point guard Isaiah Thomas along with adding maybe another young big to build around center DeMarcus Cousins in the frontcourt for years to come.
For the Kings, the deal is made for strictly financial reasons, for Detroit, the Pistons add a shooter to add to their backcourt that includes some struggling outside gunners like rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Will Bynum, and the perimeter struggles have reached the former 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups.
The move also gives Detroit an option at the two spot instead of having to sign a shooting guard in the offseason as Rodney Stuckey is set to be an Unrestricted free agent this summer.
2.) Jeff Green
- Current Team: Boston Celtics
- Position: Small Forward
- Height: 6’9″
- Weight: 235 LBS
- Age: 27
- Experience: 5 Years
- 2013-2014 Statistics: 15.8 PPG; 4.7 RPG; 1.5 APG
- Career Statistics: 13.8 PPG; 5.2 RPG; 1.6 APG
- Potential Trade:
- Greg Monroe (1-year, $4.08 million)
- Rodney Stuckey (1-year, $8.50 million)
- Jeff Green (3-years, $8.70 million)
- Courtney Lee (3-years, $5.23 million)
- This deal in my eyes is a win-win for both teams. Boston gets some financial flexibility with the expiring contract of Rodney Stuckey as well as some scoring the rest of the year, and get a player that they can build a team around in Greg Monroe. With the expiring contracts of just Rodney and forward Kris Humphries, the Celtics are all ready in prime position to either be a major player in the free agent market or via trade this offseason.
On the Detroit end, you get a true athletic small forward that is a reliable three point threat to help space the floor for Drummond and Smith. Jeff Green is a career 35 percent three point shooter and is shooting at a 39 percent clip this season almost halfway through the year. Along with the addition of Jeff Green, the Pistons add another sharp shooting guard/forward in Courtney Lee.
This lights out shooter is already starting out the season hot, shooting almost 47% from behind the arc in his 29 appearances this year. Courtney is averaging almost 8 points a game this season for the Celtics in 17 minutes of play. The guard has struggled to find consistent minutes behind the much improved Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley. Lee would be in a perfect situation in Detroit as they would rely on him to make open three pointers as he has done tremendously well early this season as well as his entire career in the NBA.
As an avid Piston/Greg Monroe fan, I really hope that Head Coach Maurice Cheeks and the rest of the Detroit staff/players can find a way to fix this struggling team before Joe Dumars has to pull the plug on it to save his job come deadline time.
Make sure to get involved in the conversation and leave your suggestions on potential “Trade Targets” or “Pistons On The Block” for Detroit in the comment section below.