Stan Van Gundy knows what Pistons will do with Greg Monroe

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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.

Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days

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MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.

Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.

The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.

Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.

LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)

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LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.

LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.

James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.

Via Twitter:

LeBron finished the game with 20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 106-99.

Stephen Curry says he’d want in on potential Panthers ownership

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The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.

Enter Sean Combs and Stephen Curry.

Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.

Via Twitter:

Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.

Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.

Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.

Might need to get a few others involved in this one.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.