UPDATE on Wednesday, May 14 at 12:50 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal
On second thought, maybe Greg Monroe leaving the Detroit Pistons isn't such a sure thing.
As Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports, Stan Van Gundy is a big fan of Moose, and that could shape the free-agency decision:
League source: SVG is a big fan of Greg Monroe. Called Monroe last night when deal was final. Ownership group highly fond of Monroe.— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) May 14, 2014
Gotta love conflicting reports, right?
--End of update--
Apparently, Moose migration patterns in the NBA involve leaving Detroit and either heading southeast to Charlotte or all the way west to Los Angeles.
After all, Greg Monroe—nicknamed "Moose," for those of you who didn't immediately understand that I know nothing of the migration patterns of real moose—might be on the move this offseason now that Stan Van Gundy is both coaching the Detroit Pistons and in charge of personnel decisions.
As one anonymous general manager told Sean Deveney of SportingNews.com, Monroe has likely played his last game in Detroit:
There are two things that made that job better for Stan. One is the fact that he gets to make personnel decisions, that is a big deal of course. But the other is Andre Drummond. If you want to build your team around a young player, Drummond is the guy.
You’re not going to build around both him and Monroe, they had too much trouble making that work. You pick Drummond and move on from Monroe.
Fortunately for SVG, it won't be particularly difficult for them to "move on from Monroe."
The Georgetown product, coming off a season in which he averaged 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, is a restricted free agent this summer. He's likely to sign a fairly exorbitant contract with another team, and the Pistons could just decline to match that offer.
Of course, they could also complete a sign-and-trade to get something out of the deal, but those semantics are beside the point at this stage of the process.
What matters is that Monroe has likely played his last game in Motown, at least while wearing the home colors, and a couple teams are already interested, per Deveney:
It’s possible that Charlotte will create enough cap space in the offseason to make a max offer to Monroe and pair him with Al Jefferson up front. That might be a defensive nightmare for coach Steve Clifford, but offensively, it would give Charlotte the East’s most potent power forward-center combo.
The Lakers are the other team most frequently mentioned among league executives when it comes to Monroe. If L.A. does not make any splashy moves around the draft, and if the Lakers are ready to concede that Carmelo Anthony is not coming, then they figure to target young, second-tier free agents—and Monroe is at the head of that list.
Right off the bat, both destinations make sense.
The Lakers are in dire need of a splashy move, and Monroe is young enough (23 years old with a birthday in early June) that he could be a huge part of the picture going forward. Signing him eats into the 2015 cap flexibility, but in a good way since he'd be a building block for the post-Kobe Bryant era.
And as for the Bobcats, it's all about that frontcourt pairing that Deveney mentioned. They've actually been linked to the big man in the past as well.
Where will Monroe play in 2014-15?
"The Charlotte Bobcats are somewhat aggressive in kicking the tires. They like Philadelphia’s Evan Turner and they have been kicking around the Detroit Pistons on Greg Monroe," wrote BasketballInsiders.com's Steve Kyler before the trade deadline.
Apparently, that interest hasn't waned.
The Pistons already seem to be realizing that Monroe isn't the right fit, and that's the first step in the process. Plenty more will follow before we figure out where Moose will be playing in 2014-15.
Regardless of how long the process takes, it's a good sign for Detroit's future—and SVG's ability to work out a mutually beneficial sign-and-trade agreement—that two teams are already being linked to the big man.