With the Magic, Stan Van Gundy favored stretch fours like Rashard Lewis. That led to speculation the Pistons’ new president/coach would trade Greg Monroe, a bigger power forward without much range outside the paint.
In reality, Van Gundy called Monroe and Andre Drummond – another big without a jumper – an ideal pairing. Van Gundy recognizes value, and Drummond and Monroe are the Pistons’ two most valuable players.
But there’s a catch.
Monroe will become a restricted free agent this summer and could draw a max contract offer sheet. Would the Pistons match it?
Van Gundy, via David Mayo of MLive:
“We’ve been through basically every million-dollar increment of an offer sheet he can get, and what will we do if he takes the option of signing an offer sheet, and this is what he comes back with, what will we do?” Van Gundy said. “So to me, there’s not going to be any drama in it for us. We’ve already made that decision. We’ve already talked that through with ownership.”
“I think teams think it’s better, especially with younger guys, to have an asset, even if he’s overpaid, that can bring value down the road, than to have a guy go for nothing,” Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy said he has spent “well over half my time” on the Monroe situation since his May 13 hiring, calling it “the most important thing on our plate for the offseason.”
“It’s certainly an indication of how much I value him,” Van Gundy said of his time expenditure.
“If we make a trade, we’re going to get something we like, or we will not make a trade,” he said, adding that the Pistons “either want him (Monroe) back or we want good value for him.”
Maybe there’s a cutoff where the Pistons would let Monroe walk, but I infer the Pistons would match any offer – which, based on the projected salary cap, would be worth up to $63,011,880 over four years.
Van Gundy is absolutely right that a slightly overpaid Monroe is more valuable than no Monroe at all. The Pistons don’t have enough assets to squander one.
A sign-and-trade offer – the Pelicans are reportedly interested – could complicate Van Gundy’s decision. By making clear to teams the Pistons want to keep Monroe, Van Gundy is practically asking for teams to submit sign-and-trade offers. They know simply offering Monroe an offer sheet would mean Detroit would match and keep him. Once a player signs an offer sheet, a sign-and-trade is no longer possible.
Of course, if the Pistons keep Monroe, they must figure out how to integrate him with Drummond and Josh Smith. That jumbo front line struggled mightily last season. Trading Smith is probably the ideal option, but easier said than done. Smith could also come off the bench next year.
Sounds as if the Pistons will keep Monroe and sort out the rest later.