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.
Rudy Gay complained about how the Kings are handling the trade rumors swirling around him.
Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac, via James Ham of CSN California:
“He has my number,” Divac told CSN California. “If I do something, I will call him. Obviously, if I didn’t call him, we didn’t do anything.”
“Look, I was a player, 16-17 years in the league, nobody called me everyday and tell me what management is doing,” Divac said. “Management was doing their job. If something big happened, they called and told me. Obviously, nothing big happened (so) I’m not going to call anybody.”
I suppose Divac can take that tack. He’s obviously not obligated to provide Gay regular updates.
But the Kings already have a reputation for putting their players in bleak positions. This doesn’t help.
Even if Divac feels calling Gay is going out of his way, so what? The alternative — Gay either coming to training camp unhappy or spreading word of Sacramento’s mistreatment of players to his new teammates after a trade — is far worse.
It’s not enough for Divac to just wait for Gay to call him — especially because Divac might not be as reliable with the phone as he thinks.
The National Basketball Players Association has talked for more than a year about covering medical expenses for retired players.
Today, the union announced a formal plan.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that its player representatives have voted unanimously to fund health insurance for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service in the league. This program is the first of its kind among North American professional sports. It also exemplifies the NBPA’s focus on the health and welfare of its current, retired and future members.
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
The unanimous vote – which took place during the NBPA Summer Meeting in New York on June 26 – established a multi-faceted health insurance program through UnitedHealthcare, the country’s leading health benefits provider. The current proposal includes:
Retired players with between three and six years of NBA service time but who are not yet eligible for Medicare would be offered a plan that includes medical, hospital and prescription drug coverage with modest out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-pays;
Those with between seven and nine years of service would be offered the same coverage with even lower out-of-pocket costs;
Retired players with at least 10 years of service would be offered the same coverage as the seven-to-nine year players, and would include coverage for their entire family;
Retired players with three-nine years of service who are eligible for Medicare would be offered a $0 deductible and $0 co-pay plan along with a low-cost prescription drug plan; those with 10+ years of service to receive this coverage for themselves and their spouse.
The open enrollment period for retired players would begin this fall, with coverage beginning on January 1, 2017.
This is a good thing.
It also could become a bargaining point in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Should current players face the entire burden of insuring retired players, or should owners split the cost? (The fact that the question is even being posed paints players in a positive light.)
But back to the bigger point: This is a good thing. It’ll help retired players who need it, retired players who helped position the current generation to afford this. Kudos to the union for stepping up.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”