Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 12
Greg Monroe will accept the Detroit Pistons' qualifying offer for next season and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, two people familiar with Monroe's plan told USA TODAY Sports.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about Monroe's decision.
Monroe, 24, was a restricted free agent this summer but decided not to sign an offer sheet with another team or sign a multiyear extension with the Pistons.
He instead will be one of the most highly sought-after free agents next offseason.
While the Pistons big man has not pursued an offer sheet from another team, he has pursued sign-and-trade possibilities, and Monroe is 'definitely' willing to take the one-year qualifying offer worth $5.3 million from Detroit in order to ensure his unrestricted free agency next summer, a source familiar with Monroe’s thinking told The Detroit News.
The source requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the contract talks. Monroe has until Oct. 1 to agree to a deal or sign the qualifying offer.
If Monroe signs the qualifying offer, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer, free to sign wherever he likes — and for the following season, he would have to approve any trade, as he likely would try to secure a long-term deal with any new team.
Updates from Monday, Aug. 11
Matt Dery of The New Detroit Sports 105.1 reports one team in the Eastern Conference has inquired about Greg Monroe:
Lots of chatter about Greg Monroe today. Pacers shopping Hibbert and a source tells me they have called the Pistons about him. All I know.— Matt Dery (@dery1051) August 10, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 6
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Pass has the latest on Greg Monroe's contract negotiations with the Pistons:
The Pistons have moved from the initial five-year, $60-million offer and an offer that’s slightly better than the four-year, $54-milliondeal that Josh Smith signed last summer is on the table.
But the offer to make him the highest paid player on the roster hasn’t brokered an agreement. And negotiations aren’t ongoing.
Updates from Monday, July 21
Jordan Schultz of The Huffington Post reports on team in the Western Conference interested in Greg Monroe:
Hearing Suns may be considering a Greg Monroe offer. They have space to get both him and Bledsoe but would lose cap flexibility long-term.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 20, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 17
ESPN's Marc Stein reports the Pistons have discussed a potential trade involving Greg Monroe this offseason:
Sources said the Pistons also seriously discussed various sign-and-trade scenarios this month that would have landed restricted free agent Greg Monroe in Portland, but the Blazers ultimately pulled themselves out of the race for Monroe by signing free-agent big man Chris Kaman to joinRobin Lopez in the Blazers' center rotation.
Updates from Tuesday, July 1
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders has the latest on Monroe's potential suitors:
The Atlanta Hawks contacted Greg Monroe tonight, according to source close to the situation. ATL's interest in Monroe is very real.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 1, 2014
ESPN's Marc Stein reports the latest on the Pistons' push to keep the talented big man:
As for Detroit's marquee free agent: Pistons have let it be known they want to keep Greg Monroe but won't rule out sign-and-trade if too $$$— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2014
Stein also reports on another team who has interest:
And the Orlando Magic are another team said to possess Greg Monroe interest— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2014
Updates from Monday, June 30
Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports the Pistons have made a qualifying offer to Greg Monroe:
The #Pistons extended qualifying offer to Monroe over the weekend. Perfunctory news, as you know.— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) June 30, 2014
A Western Conference team is also interested in Monroe according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
Another team to watch in the Greg Monroe restricted free-agent hunt: I'm told Portland has serious interest in a sign-and-trade for Monroe— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2014
Greg Monroe is coming off another productive season with the Detroit Pistons. The arrival of Stan Van Gundy could mean his days with the organization are beginning to dwindle, however.
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports sources around the league agree that the Pistons' new head coach and president of basketball operations will seek ways to move Monroe. He will then rebuild the franchise around Andre Drummond.
A rival general manager explained the situation that led Van Gundy to accept the Detroit job over the Golden State Warriors:
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.
Monroe is slated to become a restricted free agent this offseason. If the Pistons do want to move forward without him, the biggest key is figuring out a way to work out a deal. They don't get caught choosing between taking on a massive contract or letting him walk away for nothing.
The report states the Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Lakers are two teams that executives around the league mentioned with the potential to offer him a max contract. The New Orleans Pelicans were mentioned as a possible sign-and-trade partner.
Last month, Monroe was asked about whether he believed the Pistons had good locker-room chemistry during their lackluster regular season. David Mayo of MLive.com passed along his response, which spoke volumes despite being extremely brief:
"Honestly, I would say no," he answered.
Pressed for what the problem was, Monroe retreated.
"I will answer the question," he said, "but I wouldn't go further than that."
Monroe finished the season averaging 15 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting a shade under 50 percent from the field. His success at the offensive end paired with a willingness to battle for boards is a coveted commodity around the league with a lack of reliable big men.
What should the Pistons do with Monroe?
His defensive ability doesn't live up to the same standard, however. That's one of the main reasons he's likely to move if Van Gundy is planning to reshape the roster around one interior player. Drummond is the better all-around rising star.
Make no mistake, Monroe is still a valuable asset and the Pistons can't afford to let a player of his caliber get away without getting some type of return. Finding out what options they have on the table is one of the biggest tasks for Van Gundy in the coming weeks.
Monroe would fit in well with any up-tempo team, where his offensive skills could shine while also taking pressure off him at the defensive end. But the fact three teams are already being rumored as potential landing spots shows there should be a strong market.
That's good news for both Monroe and the Pistons, who are apparently ready to move in another direction.