Greg Monroe remained unsigned at this late stage of free agency, but it wasn’t because of a lack of teams that were interested in acquiring his services.
Monroe was a restricted free agent, which meant the Pistons could match any offer he received, and had put it out there that they would do exactly that. So, with no teams wanting to tie up those dollars for the 72 hours Detroit would have had to contemplate matching, no offer sheets were tendered and subsequently signed.
The Pistons didn’t want to give Monroe what he was asking for, and Monroe himself said that the team never offered him the five-year, $60 million deal that was reported. It’s unclear what the final offer was, but it was evidently low enough for Monroe to sign the qualifying offer to play for Detroit on a one-year deal next season.
Detroit restricted free agent Greg Monroe has signed the qualifying offer, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
Monroe can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015. Detroit, Monroe couldn’t agree on an extension.
Essentially, Monroe just placed a huge bet on himself.
Signing a long-term extension (or even one for big money for just a couple of seasons) is something restricted free agents almost always do, because it’s their first real opportunity to bank a significant chunk of guaranteed money following the expiration of their rookie scale contract.
By playing next season under the qualifying offer, Monroe will be entering the largest of contract years, in that there’s no safety net of guaranteed money in place beyond next season in the event of injury, or simply a substandard performance.
Monroe has been exceptionally durable in his first four NBA seasons, appearing in all but three of the maximum amount of games possible. Injury may not be much of a concern, but as we saw with Paul George this summer, it can come at the most unexpected of times. And, a new head coach in Stan Van Gundy may not utilize Monroe the same way, which may cause his numbers to suffer as a result.
There’s one more player in this situation, and that’s Eric Bledose, who’s going through the same thing with the Suns. Expect him to similarly sign the qualifying offer for next season, but in his case — having previously suffered major injuries in two of his four NBA seasons — the risk is far greater than it is for Monroe with the Pistons.