Ever since he signed the one-year qualifying offer this summer, Greg Monroe’s days in Detroit have been numbered. With the Pistons undergoing an organizational overhaul and Stan Van Gundy taking over as coach and president, much of the roster is in limbo, and Monroe was never truly happy with his role or fit on the team.
Monroe waited a while to sign the qualifying offer, which will make him an unrestricted free agent next summer. Several teams were apparently interested, and presented sign-and-trade options to Detroit, but none of them caused Van Gundy to bite.
From RealGM’s Shams Charania:
All along, Monroe never wanted to return to the Pistons and summer sign-and-trade possibilities streamed into Detroit’s front office. Van Gundy is a top-tier head coach in the NBA, proud of his system and acumen to establish a franchise. As trading Monroe became the most inviting option, Van Gundy knew the stakes, knew Monroe was likely gone after one season under his qualifying offer deal anyway.
Several NBA teams had pitched sign-and-trades scenarios to the Pistons’ front office, but Van Gundy responded with a turn-off: The president and coach requested All-Star caliber players in return, league sources told RealGM. In one instance, two other franchises had agreed to a three-team deal that needed the Pistons’ acceptance, delivering Monroe a maximum-level contract. Opposing team executives involved pushed for it. Only, Detroit rejected.
Monroe didn’t have very many options this summer. Only a handful of teams had the cap space necessary to offer Monroe a max or near-max deal, and most of those teams were preoccupied with pursuing bigger names like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.
Next summer paints a different picture. Almost half the league will have room to sign Monroe, and he’s going to have his pick of teams as he looks to escape a disastrous Pistons team that has started off 3-17 through its first 20 games. The only way he may be back in Detroit is if Van Gundy finds a taker for Josh Smith’s contract, which is a tall order. As long as Smith, Monroe and Andre Drummond are forced to play together, it just isn’t in the cards for Monroe to be there long-term.
The 2015 free-agent class is headlined by names like Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, but Monroe’s free agency will be an intriguing subplot for teams that miss out on those names. Wherever he goes, it likely won’t be Detroit.