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.