Greg Monroe will sign a qualifying offer in Detroit and delay free agency until next season. This means that Monroe’s future with the team officially relies on the team’s performance this upcoming season.
If Monroe performs well, meaning Detroit performs well, he will likely receive a offer to stay in Detroit. Otherwise, he might try walking again.
Restricted free agency did not fit Monroe well. A few teams such as the Trailblazers and Magic showed interest in him, yet were reluctant to make an offer. Apparently spending four seasons as a minor star on a notoriously disappointing team does not earn the money or attention Monroe hoped for.
The lack of serious interest Monroe received leads to questions of whether or not he really had a choice if he wanted to play in Detroit this upcoming season. Monroe himself delayed taking the next steps towards gathering offers from outside teams.
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy publicly stated that he considers Monroe part of the team’s plan for success and would have had the option to match any offers Monroe received from other teams. This may have contributed to muting offers since teams would be scared to overpay, thinking Detroit would match and then be stuck with an overpriced contract.
Perhaps with this hazard taken away, Monroe will have better luck next year. Until then, he is stuck in a Pistons jersey. Meanwhile, Van Gundy does not have to worry about filling a gaping hole at power forward. Bench players Jonas Jerebko and Tony Mitchell are not exactly the people that should be starting alongside Josh Smith and Andre Drummond.
Power forward and center are arguably the two shallowest positions on Detroit’s roster. Although Van Gundy will not admit to it, the Pistons need Monroe just as bad as Monroe needs them.
This off season, Van Gundy beefed up every other position. With the addition of Aaron Gray, at least Detroit has someone to sit behind Drummond. Strong forward always had some level of depth with a competent Kyle Singler and European basketball veteran Luigi Datome. Jodie Meeks joined as a shooting guard, giving an improving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a reason to worry.
The most improved area was the depth at point guard. With second round draft pick Spencer Dinwiddie indefinitely on the disabled list, D.J. Augustin is probably the only point guard acquisition with a high chance of seeing the court this year. Returners Brandon Jennings and Will Bynum fill out the position.
So far, Jennings has been an alright point guard for Detroit that seems to have more potential than he shows. Assistant coach Tim Hardaway Sr. should do wonders for the 24-year old player.
Provided that Van Gundy can continue getting the production out of Monroe, Drummond and Smith that he got out of Dwight Howard in Orlando or Shaquille O’Neal in Miami, Detroit’s offense is not looking so terrible for next season.
With the Monroe decision out of the way for now, Smith trade rumors may rise up again.
Although any trade is still possible, Van Gundy has promised to keep Smith on meaning the roster is nearly set.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.