While the New Orleans Pelicans seem to be a team on the rise, looking for that one additional piece to make them into a playoff team, the Detroit Pistons are more open to a bigger kind of change. The Pelicans are interested in Greg Monroe as a front court piece to take them over the threshold, although it might cost them the excellent shooting of Ryan Anderson.
Monroe is a free agent, and he sees himself getting a maximum contract. However, he is a restricted free agent, which makes things a little bit different, and the Pistons don’t have to offer him the biggest deal possible. They only need to see if someone else gives him that kind of money and then decide on whether to match it or not.
The Pelicans have around $7 million in cap space. They’ve got a pretty good and talented group going for them with Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. However, aside from Davis and maybe Holiday, they’re open to trades. Monroe is going to cost them more than $7 million a season, so a sign-and-trade is the only way for them to get the big man who was averaging 15.2 points per game last season.
Stan Van Gundy, the newly appointed master of the Pistons: Both head coach and ruler of all personnel decisions, is keen, at least when he speaks to the media, on keeping both Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond together. It’s not quite clear what his plans are about Josh Smith, but it was evident last season that playing all three of them together wasn’t going to work. Using Smith in a trade is difficult, but pairing him up with Drummond might not sound like such a bad idea.
Or there’s the option of going back to his way of handling things when he was with the Orlando Magic. No, not the way it ended, but they way it went well. Having Dwight Howard in the center of things while surrounding him with guys who can shoot. I’m not sure Andre Drummond is the equivalent for Howard, but if there’s one thing the Pistons need it’s more shooters, and a healthy Ryan Anderson might be the best stretch ‘4’ in the league.
Anderson played under Van Gundy at Orlando, which means there’s a connection there. He is slightly older than Monroe (26 to 24) but provides the Pistons with something they don’t have at the moment, while not taking away from their strength in the paint if Van Gundy can actually change Josh Smith or bring in another piece to help Drummond. Eric Gordon would interest them but they won’t give up Monroe for him. That leaves Anderson as the only asset that’s movable if a sign-and-trade is going to happen.