The Wizards are interested in the Pistons’ Greg Monroe, either by trade this season or as a restricted free agent in the offseason, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. The Wizards have cap room next year, when an extension for Monroe would kick in. Marcin Gortat, the Wizards’ current starting center, will also be a free agent at that point.
When the Pistons signed Josh Smith last summer, it created a very big starting five in Detroit, with Andre Drummond at center, Monroe at power forward, and Josh Smith at small forward. This lineup has had spacing issues in a league increasingly dependent on the three-point shot. Smith is near the bottom of the league’s long-distance shooters at .239 from deep, and the team’s 17-24 start hasn’t silenced questions about the long-term viability of the unconventional roster.
Drummond is highly prized and on the second year of his rookie deal, and Smith has three years remaining after this season on his four-year, $54MM contract. The 23-year-old Monroe will be a restricted free agent next year, and has averaged 13.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals over his three-plus years in the league. Our readers voted Monroe the most likely to be traded from the Pistons yesterday, and Kennedy says the Pistons’ front office is considering whether to do just that: “Rival executives have said that there is “turmoil” within the organization and that they haven’t decided what to do as the deadline approaches.”
The Pistons are still in contention for the eighth seed in the weak Eastern Conference, and they are expected to be active before the trade deadline. Whether the front office tries to bolster the current foundation, or deconstructs some of the “ill-fitting pieces” such as Monroe could be determined by the team’s performance in the near term.