There being no word from Toronto Raptors management about an contract in place to keep Kyle Lowry for the long term, we at the Rapture are going to start assessing trades. Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that we would rather keep Kyle a Raptor for a long time, but he has to be moved if he won’t sign a new deal before the trade deadline of February 20. If he’s not traded, he can walk in the off-season, and the Raps get nothing. [20-second timeout: if I were Kyle, I wouldn't sign now. He's having a breakout season and will be 28 when next season tips off, a prime age to receive a huge multi-year contract. He and his agent should wait until the off-season to get a stack of offers in the door.]
trade candidate: power forward Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons. He’s a 23-year-old giant from Georgetown University, who’s in his third Motown season. If you believe, as I do, that big men mature late, Greg’s game has not yet plateaued. That makes him highly desirable, because he’s already more than respectable. Greg is averaging 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds Per Game [PG] this season, while sharing the frontcourt duties with an All-Star to be, Andre Drummond. Having two offensive-minded 7-footers is proving to be a floor-spacing challenge for the Pistons.
The Pistons claim to be turning down all offers for Monroe, and that may be the truth. But if I’m embattled GM Joe Dumars, I’ve got to do something. Detroit’s record is 19-27, while the Raps are 25-22. In my view, those are exactly the opposite of the teams’ records a pundit would have guessed for this point in the season. The Eastern Conference is so weak that the Pistons may still have a shot at the playoffs (assuming that’s what they want), but if they are in the lottery again, it’s hard to imagine even the much-loved Dumars retaining his job.
Verdict: Until recently, any team which traded big for small would be trashed in the press. However, the advent of “small ball” seems to have turned that cliche around. The Trade Machine is firmly behind Detroit in this deal, with the Raps “losing” 6 games and the Pistons breaking even. I think that’s an accurate assessment, as the Raps would be forced to start Greivis Vasquez at point, an idea which turns my stomach. Greivis gives a solid effort, but is much too slow to match up with the best of the opponents’ kids like Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker or John Wall. He’s also 27, so improvement isn’t in the cards. Monroe’s arrival would punt Amir Johnson to the bench.
Likelihood: 5%. This deal will happen close to the deadline only under these circumstances: Detroit believes they can make a playoff run with Kyle at point, he’s stonewalling the Raps, and Pistons’ management think he’ll sign with them.
WWMD [What Will Masai Do?]: If it’s the only deal on the table, Raps’ GM Masai Ujiri will take it, as it’s better than no deal at all. Even if Monroe doesn’t work out, a skilled big man like him will be an appealing trade chip for other teams in the off-season.
What do you think, Rapture Nation? And Pistons fans, please weigh in with your Comments as well.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.
Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.