A report in the Detroit Free Press Thursday confirmed what a lot of people around the league expected — the Detroit Pistons are most likely not going to offer a rookie contract extension to Greg Monroe. Rather, they are going to let this year play out and next summer he will be a restricted free agent and the market will set his price.
It makes sense financially for the Pistons. They have $42 million already on the books next season, including $13.5 million for Josh Smith and $8 million for Brandon Jennings. Plus in the fall of 2015 a max extension that will get offered to Andre Drummond kicks in. That’s a lot of money in those three players. Best to wait out Monroe.
Thing is, Monroe is really good — a smart player who is strong at the elbow, can score around the rim, is a good passer and isn’t afraid from the midrange (although he misses a lot from there). He averaged 16 points and 9.6 rebounds a game last season and that is not near how good he can be. He is potentially one of the better big men in the league, and those guys get paid with max or near max deals. Some team is going to make a big offer to Monroe next summer.
That leads into the next question: Could Monroe get traded this season?
There are executives around the league who think it could go that way and they are watching and waiting. There are sharks circling.
Pistons GM Joe Dumars isn’t going there. Yet, anyway. Nor should he.
Detroit has to be patient here and see what happens with the Smith, Drummond and Monroe front line — if it meshes it will be a beast (particularly defensively, at least they should be). If it all clicks then Dumars does nothing but try to find shooting to go around that group. He tries to build a Grizzlies-style contender.
But if it doesn’t mesh Monroe will be the odd man out. They just brought in Smith at $13.5 million a year, and the Pistons see Drummond as a franchise anchor center. Those two are not going anywhere.
Monroe? He could draw some quality pieces to fit better with Smith and Drummond.
Just something to watch as everyone’s new League Pass favorites the Pistons try to make it all work out. You can bet there will be plenty of executives from other teams keeping their eye on this.
Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.
Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.
This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.