It turns out that Greg Monroe wasn’t bluffing at all. According to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, the disgruntled restricted free agent big man has told the Detroit Pistons he will make good on a lasting threat of signing the team’s one-year qualifying offer and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Here’s the meat and potatoes of Zillgitt’s exclusive report:
Forward-center Greg Monroe has informed the Detroit Pistons’ he will accept the qualifying offer, play for Detroit in 2014-15 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.
Monroe’s decision comes as a major surprise despite recent smoke – as of this morning, actually – that it was a legitimate option. No player of his caliber has ever risked longterm financial security by playing on a single-season qualifying offer, and conventional wisdom said Monroe was unlikely to break the mold. Instead, he’ll earn a $5.479 million salary this season that is approximately half of what he could have received per year on a multi-season contract with the Pistons.
This is a major gamble by Monroe. If he plateaus, regresses, or gets injured in 2014-2015 there’s a possibility value on the completely open market will be even less than what it was this season on a partially closed one. But if he improves under the tutelage of Stan Van Gundy, there’s also a very good chance that he’ll receive the max-level deal he sought this summer – at a number that will be even higher given the league’s imminent salary cap spike for 2015-2016.
It’s a seesaw of cons and pros, basically, and Monroe is evidently more confident than his predecessors that good fortune will befall him. Plus, if he really is intent on leaving Detroit for good, this is the means to doing so as soon as possible. Perhaps that was the deciding factor in his surprising choice.
The next year will be fascinating. Here’s hoping Monroe is healthy enough in 2014-2015 to win his big bet.
What do you think of Monroe’s decision?
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