The fact Greg Monroe was going to leave Detroit was right up there with “Jeb Bush might run for president” for the worst kept secret of the last couple months award.
We know four or five teams have meetings set up with Monroe — the Knicks are considered the strong front runners to land him — and none of them are the Pistons. While coach and GM Stan Van Gundy has given lip service to bringing Monroe back, Monroe himself confirmed he is moving on to the New Orleans Advocate. (Hat tip Eye on Basketball.)
He also said Van Gundy’s offense and the Pistons already having Andre Drummond sealed the deal with the move.
“I’m looking to be with a team that’s ready to win,” said Monroe during a timeout at his youth basketball clinic Saturday morning at the Delgado Community College gymnasium. “Hopefully it will be a team where I’m the missing piece….
“Stan had smaller teams in Orlando (Magic) years ago,” Monroe said. “Dre is like Dwight Howard. So Stan wants to put good players around him. The team has different plans, and I respect that. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted.”
In the next 48 hours, expect Van Gundy to deny he’s not wanted in Detroit, but that’s just part of the dance. SVG has a franchise anchor in the paint in Drummond and wants shooters and athletes around him to open up the floor and play off him. That system works (the Magic made it to the Finals, remember) and they just traded for Ersan Ilyasova, who is a much better fit than Monroe as a four in that system.
The Knicks have long been the front runners to land Monroe, but the Lakers, Celtics, and other teams want to get their foot in the door. One interesting possibility is Portland, where they are about to lose LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency and will be looking for another young, quality big man to put next to Damian Lillard. That team would be a lot closer to winning than the Knicks, Lakers or Celtics.
We’ll see in a couple days where Monroe’s meetings are.