Pistons' Monroe denies report he wants out of Detroit
Los Angeles — Such is life in the NBA when a future unrestricted free agent has to deal with his name in the rumor mill, on the dawn of true trade activity.
But Greg Monroe was especially perturbed at the report from the Sporting News that claimed the Pistons are looking for a first-round pick for him, and that Monroe "badly" wants to get out of town.
"It was news to me, news to everybody else," Monroe said. "That's honest."
"After losing 13 straight, getting a couple games, then you have to hear this, getting ready for a game. 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."
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy of course has final say on personnel matters and was equally annoyed about the report.
"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."
Monroe first saw something on his Instagram page, when a kid made a comment on one of his pictures. Then he was notified by team personnel upon entering the Staples Center on Monday night, hours before the Pistons' game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Everyone knows he wants out of there," the source told Sporting News. "There is almost nothing he would shoot down."
Monroe had to deal with his name being in the rumor mill all summer, when he was trying to facilitate a trade or long-term deal with the Pistons as a restricted free agent. He returned to a one-year deal, per the CBA, earning himself the right to choose his own team next summer.
"Same thing that happened this summer," Monroe said. "They put that stuff out there, say I said it and then I have to answer for it."
In the meantime, any trade would have to be approved by Monroe, who would then forfeit his Larry Bird Rights — rights that allow his current team to go over the salary cap to re-sign him — and that doesn't appear realistic at this point.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Pistons dangle Monroe around to see what they can get for him, considering they'd likely lose him for nothing this offseason. But they'll likely test the market for Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings as well.
Monroe's situation is a lot murkier than theirs, and Monroe said he and management haven't broached the subject of a trade.
"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."
With Dec. 15 being the first day teams can begin trading players who signed deals over the summer, Monroe's name was a natural one to come up, given his status, the Pistons' crowded frontcourt and the way the team has underperformed to start the season.
"To say I'm unhappy … losing 13 in a row, nobody's happy when you're losing 13 in a row," Monroe said. "Where he took it was completely false. And it's totally ridiculous I have to answer questions like this."