The Detroit Pistons’ Greg Monroe was arguably the best young big man on the market this summer. But restricted free agency is a tricky balancing act for competing teams, and the talented 24 year-old remains unsigned – and has barely been seriously courted – as August wears on. Monroe’s partner in the Detroit frontcourt, Andre Drummond, is unconcerned by his teammate’s status. Drummond told the Detroit Free Press that he’s “pretty sure” Monroe will be playing with the Pistons this season.
The story is courtesy of the Free Press’ Vince Ellis.
The second-year center has been vocal about wanting Monroe, a restricted free agent, to return to the Pistons.
And Drummond said Thursday that he is pretty certain that Monroe’s contract impasse will be resolved and Monroe will be wearing a Pistons uniform next season.
“Greg knows what it is,” Drummond said at the Mendenhall Center on the UNLV campus. “I’ve told him multiple times that he needs to come on home.
“I need him there, and all the guys would love to have him back as well. At the end of the day, he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family.
“I still have high hopes, and I’m pretty sure he is coming home, so I’m excited for this season.”
Monroe has sought a maximum offer sheet since free agency opened last month. But he’s gone basically untouched five weeks into the process as a result of the presumption Detroit would match any contract he signs with another team. It’s highly unlikely that a competitor would offer Monroe the money he wants this late into free agency – only the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers even have the cap space to do so. The possibility of a sign-and-trade seems just as suspect.
However, Ellis also notes that “the threat is there” of Monroe accepting a $5.4 million qualifying offer (QO) for 2014-2015 and trying his hand as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported the same possibility in early July.
As we’ve discussed ad nauseam regarding Monroe and Eric Bledsoe, though, players of such high-esteem simply don’t exercise that option. There’s far too much risk for quality restricted free agents to play on a one-year deal that’s worth substantially less than the contract they could accept from their hometown team, and Friday’s devastating injury to Paul George is a reminder why. If Monroe suffered a serious injury in 2014-2015 while performing on a QO, he’d stand to lose tens of millions on the open market next summer. Health can become fleeting in a blink.
Whether Drummond has unique insight on the situation given conversations with Monroe or is simply hoping the odds win out in the end is irrelevant. He’s right either way. Barring a major surprise, Monroe and the Pistons will agree on a multi-year deal just below the maximum threshold before the season begins in coming weeks.
It’s not an ideal situation for Monroe, but that’s the reality of restricted free agency: The team always wins.
Will Monroe sign with Detroit long-term?
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