Source: Mavs Show Interest In Monroe Trade

DALLAS - The Mavs front office has examined the idea of trading for disgruntled Pistons big man Greg Monroe, NBA sources tell Just how 'on fire' would Detroit's fire sale have to be to make a deal? Mavs exclusive scoop inside:

The story begins with our friend Sean Devaney of Sporting News, who reports that Greg Monroe "badly wants out of Detroit." But the story can end with Sean's report as well as he notes that "teams seeking Monroe will need to cough up a first-round pick."

And "that," a Dallas Mavericks source tells me on Monday afternoon, "will never happen."

Dallas has an undeniable attraction to Monroe, whose numbers have been very consistent year over year, averaging between 15-16 points and 9-10 rebounds each season, including this one. broke the story this summer of Dallas' interest in him, interest that was easily erased when the Mavs initially assumed Detroit would match all offers than then when Dallas acquired Tyson Chandler.

So the Mavs have thought very highly of the 6-11 Monroe -- or at least of his untapped potential. You can see the toolbox of skills here, from one Pistons game against the Knicks last season:

? But his “lack of value” in trade, if you will, now comes from the fact that if you trade for him, you’re trading for a player that you only get for a half-season, then you have to have cap room to sign him because you get no Bird rights. "Lack of value'' is also the result of the NBA getting wind of the notion that he desired a max deal over the summer, then with his obvious unhappiness of being locked back into Detroit under the terms of restricted free agency rules that means he makes just $5.5 million. And maybe, too, with the belief that his game hasn't grown much.

Now, everybody in Detroit is unhappy as the Pistons are off to a horrible 5-19 start as they prepare to play host to the Mavericks on Tuesday. And Monroe will make his escape, sooner or later. Later, because his is just a one-year deal. Or sooner, if someone meets Detroit's No.-1-pick demands.

What my source says Dallas will be willing to discuss (as of Monday afternoon, there have been no substantive talks) is a "fire-sale'' sort of exchange, a handful of expendables in trade for the one-season rental of Monroe.

And what would such a jetsam-and-flotsam package look like? Our source mentioned a “package of veteran-minimum-salary pieces” as the sort of offer they’d be open to make.

But does that even make sense, for either team? For the Mavs, it means that in order to trade-match Monroe’s salary, they would have to include no less than four of Barea, Jefferson, Crowder, Aminu, and Villanueva. We’re guessing “veteran” would close the door to the inclusion of Smith or Ledo, but maybe not.

In any event, including so many players to trade-match would effectively strip the Mavs team of its bench. And that many-for-one type of deal also would create issues for Detroit, who have a full roster already. In order to do such a deal, Detroit would have to get rid of enough players (probably by waiver, although they could trade away minimum-salary guys to Dallas or elsewhere for nothing) in order to have the roster room to do the deal.

And a bigger problem with that offer for Detroit, besides the impracticality of a four (or more)-for-1, is that nothing in there offers Detroit “something to keep” when they let go of a player that has some real on-court value.

The more practical trade-match would be one that includes Felton, who alone makes enough to trade-match Monroe, and then add in at least one minimum salary piece of Detroit’s choosing. Maybe the offer would include Smith and/or Ledo, younger players with a theoretically longer future for the Pistons. But even with supposed "lack of value,'' how can that possibly be enough?

The way that the Mavs could perhaps turn an offer like that into something of interest is to include a first-round pick. But again, a source stressed to me that including a first-rounder for Monroe, who would only be in Dallas for the rest of the season and then be lost in free agency in the summer, “will never happen.” So that’s that.

Our David Lord adds that we should also note that, even though there’s virtually no chance Monroe will be in Detroit after this season, the Pistons are not in a “take-it-or-leave-it” quandary. If no one gives them an offer they like (which is to say, one that includes a first-rounder), they can roll the dice on getting value for him in the summer via a “sign-and-trade.” That could happen if Monroe decides he wants to play for a team that lacks cap room to give him the deal he is looking for.

And there's this from D-Lord, too: In addition to the obstacles we've already noted on a trade of Monroe to Dallas, there is some buzz from Detroit that Monroe is not as open to letting a trade happen as Sporting News believes. Monroe, who would lose his Bird rights if traded, cannot be traded without his permission, and word is he has let it be known that he has no interest whatsoever in losing those rights, which could help him secure a much bigger deal with a team of his choice in the summer.

But back to Dallas' what-if's: To be frank, while the Mavs like Monroe in theory, we think such offers would make little sense for them to actually pursue, because the utter lack of value to Detroit makes it seem cursory, maybe even insulting. We could even suggest that it's trash-for-treasure, the sort of junk that pops up on message boards. (But not's. At least not too often!) But that's where Monroe's stock as a one-year rental is to Dallas right now:

Contemplation about a fire-sale offer for a fire-sale player with a fire-sale team.

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