Wizards Interested in Greg Monroe
The Detroit Pistons find themselves in a difficult position at the halfway point of the 2013-14 season.
After a big offseason that brought Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings and Chauncey Billups (as well as playoff expectations) to Detroit, the team is currently 17-24 and barely holding onto the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has dropped 10 of their last 14 games and, according to multiple league sources, the organization isn’t sure what to do as the Feb. 20 trade deadline approaches.
Should the Pistons keep their roster as currently constructed and give this group more time together? There are some decision-makers in the organization who look at the weak Eastern Conference and feel this is the best way to proceed.
Should the Pistons make a move before the deadline since their players haven’t fit together as expected? There are some decision-makers in Detroit who look at the ill-fitting pieces and feel this is the best way to proceed.
»In Related: Detroit Pistons Salary Cap Page
One player who has been mentioned in trade rumors throughout this season is Greg Monroe, the young power forward who will be a restricted free agent this offseason since he couldn’t agree on an extension with the Pistons. It’s no secret that Josh Smith is better at the four, and it’s possible that Detroit moves the valuable Monroe to upgrade another position and slide Smith over to power forward.
One team that is interested in Monroe is the Washington Wizards, according to multiple league sources. It’s becoming clear that Washington is planning to pursue Monroe, either through trade or free agency.
Prior to joining the Pistons, Monroe starred at Georgetown for two seasons so he’s no stranger to Washington. The Wizards have $41,458,760 in guaranteed commitments for next season, since Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza among others are in the final year of their contracts.
»In Related: Washington Wizards Salary Cap Page
With that said, it’s not every day that a 23-year-old big man with Monroe’s skill set and potential becomes available, so expect many other teams to emerge as possible suitors for Monroe as well. But since Monroe will be a restricted free agent, the Pistons can match any offer that he receives so getting the big man to sign an offer sheet doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll leave Detroit.
Through 40 games this season, Monroe has averaged 14.4 points on 50.3 percent shooting as well as 8.8 rebounds. This is Monroe’s fourth year in the NBA, but he still has plenty of room to grow.
The Pistons are certainly a team to keep an eye on over the next month. Rival executives have said that there is “turmoil” within the organization and that they haven’t decided what to do as the deadline approaches.
How the team performs in the coming weeks could determine what the front office does next, similar to what’s occurring with the Toronto Raptors right now. If the team plays well, the team will likely remain intact and the Pistons will try to make a postseason run. If the team continues to struggle, it’s very possible that Detroit makes a trade between now and the deadline.
Jabari Parker Planning to Return to Duke?
It wasn’t long ago that the 2014 NBA Draft was being called one of the best draft classes of all-time, with prospects like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and others expected to leave school after their freshman year.
Recently, expectations have been tempered as the players have struggled and now comes the news that Parker may decide to stay in school for at least one more year.
»In Related: Jabari Parker Player Profile
Sam Smith of Bulls.com writes that executives believe Parker will return to Duke for his sophomore season. From day one, it has been clear that Parker isn’t your typical get-me-out-of-college-ASAP phenom. Smith believes that Jahlil Okafor’s commitment to Duke could persuade Parker to stay.
Okafor, like Parker, is from Chicago and the two players have become very good friends in recent years. Long before Okafor committed to Duke, he said that Parker was giving him advice and talking him through the recruiting process since he had just went through the same thing the year before. This was the first hint that Okafor would follow in Parker’s footsteps to Duke.
»In Related: 2014 NBA Mock Draft
On top of the chance to play with Okafor, Smith believes Parker will return to Duke because he’s “a bright young man with a strong family” and he “understands both the importance of education and feels he owes Duke and the chance to have a great Duke team, which more than likely is the next two seasons.” Smith also says that Parker “has seen what staying in school has done for other greats compared with the tough starts for even stars like Kobe Bryant.”
Before Duke fans start celebrating, we’ll see what happens between now and the end of the season. It’s very hard for most players to walk away from the chance to be a top pick in the draft and, historically, returning to school hasn’t worked out well for prospects (just ask Jared Sullinger, Willie Warren and Perry Jones III among others).