Dec 15, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons power forward Greg Monroe (10) looks to pass the ball as Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) defends during the first quarter at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Implications of a Possible Sign-and-Trade for Greg Monroe

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Portland Trail Blazers have “serious interest” in conducting a sign-and-trade for Detroit Pistons forward/center Greg Monroe. If pursued, the deal would almost certainly involve Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum based on need, salary, and structural mobility. By trading Monroe for Batum, the Pistons could slide Josh Smith into the vacant power forward position where he belongs, take in a talented wing to help Brandon Jennings facilitate the offense, and balance the books all in one go. By trading Batum for Monroe, the Trail Blazers could have the best offensive frontcourt in the league, and possibly clear some cap for retaining Aldridge next season in the process.

Yet, there is more to it than that. The trade would probably have to include C.J. McCollum or even Thomas Robinson, but as much as I want those guys to stick around, I am more curious about the fate of Robin Lopez. If the Trail Blazers do indeed pursue this endeavor, it won’t be to tag Monroe onto the end of the depth chart. Monroe would receive starter money and starter minutes (as he should). Since the Trail Blazers still have Lopez’s team option to consider, Lopez’s future could go one of two ways:

  • 1) The Trail Blazers hold onto him for another season at the reasonable price of $5.3 million. He comes off the bench for up to 20 minutes a game as the best backup center in the league, but is likely gone for salary purposes as a free agent in 2015.

While option one doesn’t sound half bad, both scenarios spell the end of Lopez’s tenure as a Trail Blazer. Monroe could very well be worth it, but, on paper, his arrival would bring about more questions than answers. How would the Trail Blazers replace Batum’s contributions? Who would play defense in the post? What is Robin Lopez—chopped liver? What are Freeland and Meyers Leonard—chopped… colon, maybe? There are too many pieces being pushed around for this to work out well, which makes me think that Neil Olshey has more complex trading in mind. If this deal advances to the point of gaining any real traction, don’t be surprised if it’s not the only one.

Right now, it’s little more than a whisper, but you can see how it lines up with the other whispers floating around. If, and that is a huge IF, the Trail Blazers are able to snag Vince Carter or Paul Pierce with the MLE, then this Monroe business makes a lot more sense. I don’t think I could argue with a starting lineup of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Carter, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Monroe, with Lopez coming off the bench. Still any pulled trigger could upset the Trail Blazers’ delicate balance and cost them the championship run they are hoping for. Then again, fortune favors the bold.



Tags: Free Agency Greg Monroe Nicolas Batum Portland Trail Blazers Robin Lopez Sign And Trade

  • Draftdog

    Until we have more information, let me just so NO! HELL NO! How about PLEASE NO!

  • ripcity_aloha

    I’m willing to deal everyone but Lillard, LA for Monroe. If I’m SVG I take long hard looks at Batum, T-Rob, and what ever future picks the Blazers can muster. Since they are rebuilding around Drummond a Rolo-Rental might not net a lot of value, but Batum is a young two-way glue guy that can knock down 3s, pass, and run the floor. Would be a great piece.

  • zacman83

    As a Pistons fan, I’d definitely take Batum and Robinson or McCollum for Monroe. We need shooting or we’ll never rise above first-round playoff fodder (even in the East). Monroe is a useful asset but the Detroit basketball community has fantasized for probably two years about flipping him for a quality wing with range.

  • Anthos17

    As a Detroit fan I can say without impunity that most Detroit fans do NOT want to lose Monroe and certainly not for what is being offered here. More fans want Smith shipped out so we can have one of the most dominant, if not the most dominant frontcourts in the east. Not someone else. We are not giving away Monroe unless it’s for far more than this. It’s funny how if Monroe leaves here he’d be suddenly better than if he stayed. Hmmm.

  • Marlene LaCounte

    This sounds like a true way to ruin a team and disillusion fans! Count me out as a season ticket holder if this happens!

  • JD Mulvey

    Are you on crack? The scenarios you’re describing are a complete clusterf*** and would turn the Blazers from rising contenders into basement dwellers for the next decade.

  • The Weave

    I am a piston fan who stumbled on this beautiful article, but don’t think Portland would go for it. However a Monroe, Singler, and Bynum to Portland for Batum, Robinson and Leonoard may work???