Detroit Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy is denying the veracity of a report that suggests Greg Monroe pushed for Josh Smith to be traded.
Van Gundy told Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press that “Greg’s never said anything to us about not wanting to play with Josh.”
The original report from Grantland’s Zach Lowe stated that Monroe is unwilling to commit to the Pistons long term if Smith remains on the team..
“Multiple sources say Greg Monroe’s camp has made it known Monroe will sign the one-year qualifying offer if Smith remains on the roster,” says Lowe. “Monroe’s camp denies that, and that kind of empty threat is not atypical from top restricted free agents. It’s really their only form of leverage.”
It’s certainly possible that Lowe’s report is correct and that Van Gundy is simply trying to quiet the storm. Smith proved to be a fairly terrible fit with the Pistons last season, as his awful shot selection was a big reason why Detroit struggled on the offensive end. He shot just 41.9 percent from the floor and made just 26.4 percent of his 3.4 three-point attempts per game.
Ellis also brings up another reason why the Smith experiment has failed in Detroit.
As bad as things were offensively, it was worse defensively. Smith couldn’t stay with opposing small forwards and Monroe was forced into long stretches of chasing outside-shooting big men.
Whether Monroe asked for it or not, the Pistons have to strongly consider moving Smith.