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

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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.