Sources briefed on the situation told ESPN.com this week that the Pistons have been telling teams with Monroe interest that the restricted free agent-to-be — no matter what you’ve heard — is not available.
The Josh Smith experiment in Detroit is not going well, and there’s strong opinion around the league that the Pistons would trade him if they could — and "could” is the key word. Since Smith is in the first year of a four-year, $56 million deal, he is one of the most untradable players in the league.
Tentative hooray? Tentative hooray.
A lot can change before the trade deadline – and this could just be posturing, anyway – but I really want the Pistons to build around Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. I believe those two can be key pieces on a very successful team.
It’s just difficult to envision that very successful team also including Josh Smith.
For one, Smith is five years older than Monroe and eight years older than Drummond. In the time it will take Drummond and Monroe to hit their primes, Smith , 28, will be heading over the hill.
Secondly, Smith has been a disastrous fit with Monroe and Drummond so far. I haven’t totally given up on the lineup’s potential – the talent is there – but the odds of those three ever consistently playing well together are already low and only falling. As Smith ages and his athleticism wanes, he’ll become an even poorer fit at small forward.
I’m not against trading Monroe. He’s certainly not as important to the Pistons’ future as Drummond. I just believe it will be difficult to get fair value for Monroe, and I’m definitely against trading him just to make the current roster fit a little better. I’d rather show patience and give the Pistons a chance to reconstruct the roster around those two – something they probably should have been more focused on doing sooner.
As for a Smith trade, you can read read my thoughts at ProBasketballTalk.