Greg Monroe signed a one-year qualifying offer to play for the Pistons next season, after his time as an unrestricted free agent this summer failed to attract satisfactory offers from other teams, or one from Detroit that was appealing long-term.
Monroe has seen coaches come and go during his four years there, and has yet to see a plan be put together to turn the team around. He’s not only seeking the largest amount of financial security possible in any new deal, but also wants to be in a far more stable situation.
It’s unclear what the Pistons top offer to Monroe was. But it appears as though he wasn’t willing to sign even a max contract extension to stay in town for the next four or five seasons.
Monroe and the Pistons could not agree on an extension, and even if the Pistons had offered Monroe a max contract, there was a strong chance Monroe would’ve declined. In four seasons with Detroit, Monroe has played for four coaches, and the Pistons have not won more than 30 games in any of those seasons.
Monroe’s representatives steered other teams from presenting Monroe with an offer sheet because they didn’t want the Pistons to match and keep Monroe for another four seasons. Now, Monroe will have freedom to pick his next team, and that’s what he wanted: control of his future.
There is some risk in signing a qualifying offer – Monroe could get hurt or have a down season. But Monroe, the No. 7 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, has missed just three games in his career, and new Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will still have to utilize Monroe, even with center Andre Drummond.
Van Gundy is the wild card in all of this. The Pistons hired him as head coach and president of basketball operations precisely because of perceptions like those held by Monroe, which are valid based on the team’s recent history.
Van Gundy will have a full season to change Monroe’s mind, both about the way he might utilize the big man going forward, as well as showing him that someone competent is finally in charge.
There’s an outside chance that Monroe may in fact re-sign with Detroit when all is said and done. But as of now, it’s clear he’s done with the organization, at least in terms of the way it has handled things during his first four years with the Pistons.