By Dan Jenkins
(CBS Detroit) — The deadline has now passed and players who signed as free agents over the summer can now be traded in the NBA.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: The Political Road Ahead
Sitting with a 5-19 record and only six games out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Detroit Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy can either choose to let this season go down as a lost year, hope to get a good draft pick and make all of his moves in the summer, or try to improve his team now.
Now that the deadline has passed, Pistons forward Greg Monroe is eligible to be traded after signing a $5.4 million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent with Detroit, which will grant him unrestricted free agency next year.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported that the Pistons are willing to trade Monroe and are seeking a first-round pick in return.
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“According to NBA rules, Pistons forward Greg Monroe is now eligible to be traded. And, sources told Sporting News, he wants that, badly. But teams seeking Monroe will need to cough up a first-round pick, and that’s a sticking point.”
Monroe could decline any trade the Pistons draw up, but Sporting News’ source reportedly said that wouldn’t happen. It would be hard to find a team willing to give up a first-rounder for Monroe, who has spent most of the season coming off the bench behind Josh Smith, but Sporting News listed Boston and Phoenix potentially showing interest in the big man.
The NBA TV program “The Starters” drafted a potential trade sending Monroe and Jonas Jerebko to the Celtics in exchange for Jeff Green, who is having a career season averaging 20 points per game in Boston so far this year.
SB Nation listed Monroe as one of four “disappointing offseason signings” that could now be traded.
“It’s possible that Monroe, who’s averaging 15 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes per game for the 5-19 Pistons, believes that playing for a new team would provide him with the opportunity to show the league that he’s worthy of a maximum contract. But that’s mostly for naught if the team acquiring him can’t pay him that.”
Among other rumors, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings — a.k.a. Joe Dumars’ final attempt to save his job — are both being shopped to other teams, according to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck.
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“New Pistons president Stan Van Gundy needs to trade one or both of these guys if he wants to preserve the sanity of new Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. Both are firmly on the block, per rival executives.”
Whether Van Gundy chooses to blow up his roster now or stand pat until summer, he has a lot of work to do to fix his dysfunctional roster.