Greg Monroe, in final year of contract with Pistons, says he won’t initiate trade talks


Greg Monroe wants to leave the Pistons, according to a Sporting News Report.

Not according to Monroe, though.

Monroe, via Vincent Goodwill Jr. of The Detroit News:

At this point, it’s definitely annoying because we’re trying to turn things around right here, right now. And I have to answer for something I have absolutely nothing to do with. It is annoying.

“There would be so much to go into that decision. It’s something I haven’t even … I don’t know dates, I haven’t been thinking about it,” Monroe said. “I’ve just been thinking about basketball. If they feel the need to come to me, I would have to have the discussion but that discussion would have to be initiated by them, not by me.”

“Where he took it was completely false. And it’s totally ridiculous I have to answer questions like this.”

Actions speak louder than words. Monroe not only accepted the qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summerunprecedented for a player of his caliber – he did so weeks before the deadline. If he were truly interested in re-signing with the Pistons, why not allow the longest window to negotiate a long-term contract?

Monroe has always attempted to stay focused amid distractions, and I’m sure he’d prefer to concentrate on basketball now. But he invited this line of discussion by taking the qualifying offer.

That said, the discussion should be based on accurate reports. Has Monroe legitimately not pushed for a trade? Or is he dancing around the issue by declaring himself above the fray while letting his agent handle business?

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

It’d be one thing for Monroe to deflect personal responsibility with the media. For the Pistons to tell other teams Monroe would reject a trade is a completely other level.

Monroe can veto trades by virtue of signing the qualifying offer, and if he’s dealt, he’d lose his bird rights. But bird rights only help if he wants to re-sign with Detroit, which seems unlikely. Unless he’s more interested in staying with the Pistons than he has let on, trying to angle for a sign-and-trade would be the only reason to block a trade.

It’s difficult to find a worse scenario for Monroe for the next few months than Detroit, where he’s a poor fit with Andre Drummond and Josh Smith and stuck with a bad team. Certainly, any team that would trade for Monroe would do more to help him to get a big contract next summer.

Considering Monroe’s camp sought sign-and-trades last offseason, I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to get him on board with a trade – if he’s not already.

But it takes three to tango here.

Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy, via Goodwill:

“I don’t know where that stuff comes from,” Van Gundy said. “We haven’t talked to anybody about trading Greg Monroe. We know there are teams with interest but that’s it.”

If Van Gundy isn’t talking to teams about trading Monroe, he’s making a mistake. With Monroe already positioning himself to leave, the Pistons should trade him while they can still get something in return.

Completing a deal would require negotiating with another team and, apparently, a long talk with Monroe.

Van Gundy has his hands full with dual roles, and he’s always been a coach first. But he should make time to take care of this.

Report: Draymond Green facing potential discipline after fight with Jordan Poole


Warriors practice got heated on Wednesday and Draymond Green reportedly escalated some chest bumping with Jordan Poole and punches were thrown. The team is now considering internal disciple, according to The Athletic.

When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.

The two players had been jawing at each other when it escalated and Green punched Poole, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There aren’t details of the incident beyond that description (at least so far), although several reporters have confirmed the was a fight and the two had to be broken up. Poole was seen getting up shots after practice when the media was allowed in and reportedly was joking with teammates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tweeted out what feels like the Draymond Green camp spin on the incident.

Warriors elder statesman Andre Iguodala Tweeted out this on the situation, wanting to keep it all in the family, and adding that “it broke my heart… but it fixed my vision.”

There is a history of tension between Green and Poole, including a public flare-up between the duo early last season, but the two talked after and smoothed things over. At least for a while.

What punishment Green will face from the team remains to be seen.

Poole is on the verge of an extension to his rookie contract, one where Tylyer Herro just set the market.

Green had hoped for an extension from the Warriors this offseason but there were limited discussions between the parties. Green can opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent.

Wizards’ Kispert likely to miss start of season due to sprained ankle


The Washington Wizards made fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league last season. They didn’t take a lot (second fewest) and didn’t make the ones they took (fifth lowest percentage). One goal for Wes Unlseld Jr. this season was to change that dynamic, and second-year player Corey Kispert was a big part of that plan.

Now Kispert is out through at least the start of the season, sidelined 4-6 weeks by a sprained ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

The injury happened on a fluke play in Japan against the Warriors, but Kispert shouldn’t miss much time once the real games start. The Wizards are a little short on the wing right now with Kispert joining Deni Avdija (groin injury) in the training room.

Kispert took 62% of his shots from beyond the arc last season and hit 35% of them, both solid numbers but ones Wizards hoped would improve for the 6’6″ wing this season.

Scoot Henderson says he has skills to be No.1 pick but not hung up on it

Metropolitans 92 v G League Ignite
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Scoot Henderson came out like a man on a mission Tuesday night against the Metropolitans 92 and Victor Wembanyama — he was in attack mode. He used his explosive athleticism to get to the rim, his impressive body control to get off good shots, and his strength to finish with authority. And if the defender played back, he would drain the jumper over him.

A year ago, Jaylen Brown called him the best 17-year-old he’d ever seen. Scoot is better than that now.

Many years, Henderson would be a clear No.1 overall pick. But, not this year, Wembanyama has that crown because he breaks the mold with his size and skill set (in the NBA, height still wins out).

Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer asked Henderson why he should be the top prospect and got a confident answer.

There will be a lot of people making the Henderson case this season — and with good reason. He could be a franchise cornerstone player for the next decade.

Henderson, however, is trying not to get hung up on No.1 vs. No.2.

There’s a long list of legendary players selected No.2: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Henderson can be one of them.

Unless Wembanyama’s medicals come back with red flags, he is destined to be the No.1 pick next June. That, however, will not be the end of Henderson’s story. Instead, it will be just the beginning.

Doc Rivers says he wants Harden to be ‘a scoring Magic Johnson’

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

We’re not in Houston anymore.

James Harden in Philadelphia will not be chasing scoring titles and dominating the game in quite the same way. Instead, he’s been asked to be more of a facilitator — but not too much of one. Doc Rivers told the team at ESPN’s NBA Today he wants scoring to go with the facilitating. Just like one of the all-time greats.

“I think we’ve talked so much about him being a facilitator… I need him to be James Harden too. If I had to combine, I would say a scoring Magic Johnson, I don’t know, but that’s what I want him to be. I want him to be a James Harden, but in that, I want him to also be the facilitator of this basketball team too. So in a lot of ways, his role is growing bigger for our team, and I just want him to keep thinking, ‘Do both.'”

Just play like Magic, no pressure there. For his career, Magic averaged 19.5 points a game (with four over 20 PPG) with 11.2 assists.

Harden can get close enough to Rivers’ lofty goals to make Philly a real threat, so long as defenders still fear his first step and step back. Harden can get his shot and get to the line, and he’s long been a great passer who has averaged 10.5 assists a game over the past two seasons. Now it’s just a matter of finding the balance of when to set up Joel Embiid, when to turn the offense over to Tyrese Maxey, and when to get his own shot.

Philadelphia is a deep team poised to win a lot of regular season games — the Sixers being the top seed in the East is absolutely in play. The questions Harden — and, to a degree, Embiid — have to answer come in May, when the second round of the playoffs start and Harden has faded while Embiid has had poor injury luck. In a deep East with Milwaukee, Boston, and maybe Miami and Brooklyn in the contender mix, there is no margin for error.

A Magic-like Harden would be a big boost for the Sixers in that setting.