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Report: Greg Monroe may play for qualifying offer, become free agent in 2015

Aug 12, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

If a good player on a rookie contract wants out of a situation badly enough, he has an option — he can keep playing on his rookie pay scale for five seasons, then he is an unrestricted free agent.

Guys don’t do it because if they are offered a healthy extension to their rookie deals it is a massive pay increase and to keep playing for less is a big risk (notice all the big names that forced trades or left like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love all still took at least three years of the extension before leaving). But the option to play for less and leave unrestricted is there.

Greg Monroe may take it.

Unhappy with the offers from the Pistons, Monroe is good with playing for the qualifying offer, reports Vincent Goodwill at the Detroit News.

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.

Part of Monroe’s thinking could be the Pistons’ likely stance of matching any contract offer, even if the max is well above their reported offer of four years and $50-plus million, similar to the deal Josh Smith signed last summer….

While taking the qualifying offer is a risk if he gets injured — he has missed just one of his last 310 games — it’s the biggest leverage he and his agent, David Falk, have.

Monroe isn’t going to sign that right now, he’s not going to sign it until training camp is starting. That gives him about seven weeks.

The reason to leak right now that you would take the qualifying offer is to gain leverage on the Pistons and get them to offer more or to accept a more reasonable offer for a sign-and-trade. Basically Monroe is saying, “you can do better now or you can lose me for nothing next summer.”

Stan Van Gundy is trying to bring stability and an improved roster to Detroit (he will be the fifth head coach in five seasons there). Monroe often hasn’t been used well, but he has a lot of fans in other front offices around the league who see him as a potential All-Star level big man in a few years. They just aren’t going to give Monroe a big offer sheet the Pistons would simply match, nor will they give up a lot in a sign-and-trade when most teams think the Pistons need to move Monroe or Josh Smith because the two of them and Andre Drummond can’t play as a trio. (That is the one thing we did learn last season, none of them can space the floor so it was a bad fit.)

Van Gundy has spoke well of Monroe, but the two sides haven’t been able to reach a number.

So Monroe is threatening to play the only card he has. We’ll see if that leverage gets him anywhere.

Somewhere out West Eric Bledsoe — the other restricted free agent still on the market and in the same situation — sits back and takes notes.

  1. maf586 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Has anyone spoke of a Bledsoe for Monroe trade? Seems to make sense for both sides

  2. zoomy123 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    The Pistons FO were idiots. Why did they ever think it was a good idea to play Smith, Drummond and Monroe together? lol

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      And that is why there is a new FO in Detroit now…

      • zoomy123 - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        Too bad for Van Gundy though. Everyone knows he would rather get rid of Smith and keep Monroe + Drummond. But that’s not happening. SMH.

      • senorpapino - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        And why Detroit isn’t willing to offer him max money. Even without Smith in the equation, you don’t need two players who play near the basket in today’s NBA.

      • fredgb21 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        senorpapino – no, you need 3 or 4. Realize when any combination of 2 of the 3 bigs were on the floor, the pistons had a positive +/- vs opponents last year. Consider that they played with 6 rookies, no system, leadership, or shooting on the perimeter. And yet any two bigs together still led to success… that says something. SVG wants them in a rotation. Get through your thick skull that there is 96 mpg at C and PF div 3 = 32 mpg, or Monroe’s career high. Bigs do not play guard minutes, especially not the size of Drummond and Monroe. There is plenty of time for all 3 and it does work, it’s proven, and they have a lot of ceiling left especially with Drummond.

  3. kpow55 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    If Monroe’s is that important to the team, bite the bullet and severely limit Smith’s minutes until someone goes down or some other team gets desperate and trades for him in February.

    They’re basically telling Monroe he’s important but not important enough to upset a poor signing, overpaid, average player with poor shot selection.

  4. psubeerman21 - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I don’t know why more players don’t do this, playing for the qualifing offer. Sure, there is risk of injury, but if he plays well next year he will probably get a better contract out of it…and you can leave Detroit free and clear. He obviously isn’t getting good offers from anywhere, so wait a year and play hard.

    • fredgb21 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      Because risk of injury is only 1 component

      There’s also the risk of fit. You’re going to play a year in a very awkward situation, where neither side is necessarily interested in the future with another. That’s especially hard in a *building* franchise situation. Risk of declining numbers and play is a real factor.

      Keep in mind the money were talking about here when we say *risk*. As soon as you sign that 50+ mill deal your kids kids are set for life. Before you sign it, you’re not even necessarily set depending how your investments have been. That’s not the risk most are willing to take.

    • fredgb21 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Furthermore, I’d have to see what the Pistons have offered, but I do not think there’s a high likelihood of Monroe doing a lot better than a 13.5 per contract next year. There’s conflicting stories here, but my best guess is Monroe is the one being more misleading. I think the contract offer just wasn’t in print or formalized, or it was slightly less or more than exactly stated.. ofcourse Monroe has not sat down with the Pistons in a long time either.

  5. terrellblowens - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    My knowledge of NBA contracts isn’t great, but can a team offer him a large one year deal so that at the very least he gets a raise from the qualifying offer in one year in Detroit? That team would also have some advantage in contract talks next offseason. Again I have no idea if this is possible by NBA rules, can somebody explain it to me?

    • fredgb21 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      I saw this idea shot down somewhere but I can’t remember the specifics.

      I think the Pistons could but it wouldnt’ gain them anything. There’s still a rule that prevents a trade on a 1-year contract that applies the same to the QO, and I think they lose his bird rights. But I’d have to check on that.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 12, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      No, the offer sheet must be at least two years: http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q44

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