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December 7, 2014 Updates
December 6, 2014 Updates

Several NBA teams had pitched sign-and-trades scenarios to the Pistons’ front office, but Van Gundy responded with a turn-off: The president and coach requested All-Star caliber players in return, league sources told RealGM. In one instance, two other franchises had agreed to a three-team deal that needed the Pistons’ acceptance, delivering Monroe a maximum-level contract. Opposing team executives involved pushed for it. Only, Detroit rejected. RealGM

December 5, 2014 Updates
December 4, 2014 Updates

Monroe has developed a reputation for his steady approach amid chaos. As free agency looms, he’s determined to maintain it. He permitted me just a few inquires about his contract status before politely shutting down the line of questioning. “At this point, I’d rather not talk about it,” Monroe said. NBCSports.com

That conversation is another opportunity for Monroe’s focus to be disrupted, but he’s not worried about it or any other distraction. “At the end of the day, to me, in this business, what you do on the court matters the most,” Monroe said. “For me, that’s pretty easy to do. When I’m just asked to play the game I love and to make a great living off of it, it’s easy for me to focus on that game just be the best player that I can be.” NBCSports.com

Should the Celtics or any team seek a trade for Monroe, the 6-foot-11, 253-pound former No. 7 overall pick would have to waive his Bird rights, which diminishes the amount of money he could make this summer. Still, Ainge would have enough cap space in 2015 to offer Monroe a hefty contract, and Boston is made more attractive by the presence of Monroe’s fellow Georgetown product Jeff Green. “We’re really good friends,” said Monroe. “Obviously, he’s originally from D.C., so he’s always home in the summer, and I spend a lot of time back at school, so we’re together a lot. We have the same agent and stuff like that, so we have a pretty good relationship. I would say we’re good friends.” WEEI.com

Should Green decline his $9.2 million player option for the 2015-16 season, he too would become an unrestricted free agent, and the Hoya duo has discussed joining forces on the Celtics, even if in jest. “We joke about it,” said Monroe, who could command a max deal in the four-year, $60 million range this summer. “We all joke about it, man, but obviously it’s a lot more than us two coming here or us two talking about it. Right now, I’m just focused on where I’m at. Whenever the time is and if everything is right, then obviously I’ll always weigh my options, but right now I’m not worried about that.” WEEI.com

December 3, 2014 Updates

The Detroit Pistons' coach, wearied by a ninth consecutive loss Tuesday, 106-96 to the Los Angeles Lakers, tore into his team as one that is "messed up" mentally, "awful" offensively, and wracked with "dilemmas" -- he used that word five times -- that led them to play better in preseason than regular season. "We're really messed up right now, I mean we're really messed up as a team," Van Gundy said. "Lot of dilemmas. Lot of guys feeling pressure or whatever. But we're really not right mentally right now. That's what we talked about. That's got to change before anything else does." Booth Newspapers

But it was little things, like the Lakers diving twice for loose balls on the same second-half possession while the Pistons stood and watched, that gnawed at Van Gundy. "The real problem, in my opinion -- and I told them this, so I'm not speaking behind their back; I'll never say something to you I haven't said to them -- we don't play hard enough," he said. "There's too many nights -- in fact, almost every night -- where the other team plays harder and with more energy than we do. You don't deserve to win like that. You don't." Booth Newspapers

December 2, 2014 Updates

He signed with the Detroit Pistons to a three-year deal worth $19 million that did not include any team or player options. That marked nearly a $5 million per raise from the $1.55 million Meeks made last season with the Lakers, something they would neither offer nor match while pursuing high caliber superstars in LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. “I was getting some interest with the Lakers, but obviously they were waiting on Carmelo and LeBron,” Meeks said in an interview with L.A. Newspaper Group. “Who knows what would’ve happened had I waited, but I feel like this is the best place for me.” Los Angeles Daily News

And Meeks also revealed the possibility that the Lakers could become part of his future again. “You have to go with the best opportunity for yourself,” Meeks said. “Who knows what would’ve happened if I had waited two or three more weeks. But everybody was caught in limbo with LeBron so there were no moves to be made. I feel like I made the best decision for myself. Anything is possible. Three or four years, I could be back. Maybe not.” Los Angeles Daily News

Here's what Van Gundy said to a question about whether he was satisfied with the pace of his offense and the number of possessions the Pistons got per game. "Our energy level in general, at both ends – half court, full court – needs to improve. We've talked about that a lot as a team. It's probably the No. 1 priority and encompasses a lot of things. We've got to get a higher energy level, a better motor. I don't totally know how to do that. A lot of that is within you. If I could only change one thing and I could wave a magic wand and change it, that would be my thing. We have to play with higher energy because it would take care of a lot of things. We do a lot of walking and jogging." NBA.com

The split second of head hanging that often accompanies those near misses is all the opening a semi-proficient team needs to exploit a defense on the move. Remember, a defense doesn't just have to get back at the same time as the offense, it has to get back in some semblance of position to adequately defend and match up. "I think guys are trying," Greg Monroe said after Sunday's loss. "It's just more the communication aspect of it. Guys are getting back, but not it's about communicating and understanding, just taking the closest man until you can get back and we can settle into our half-court defense." NBA.com

November 29, 2014 Updates


The Bad Boys beat the stars from Larry Brown's 2004 team at the top of the ranking.


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