ESPN’s Kevin Pelton and Amin Elhassan have both ranked their top 30 NBA free agents this summer. Naturally, LeBron James and then Carmelo Anthony top both lists. However, Pistons fans still disillusioned from a season that fell far short of expectations may be surprised to see Monroe coming in 6th and 4th respectively.
6. Greg Monroe, F/C, Detroit Pistons (R)
3-year WARP: 24.0 | 2014-15: 7.6 WARP, .545 Win%, +2.3 RPM
In the wake of a down season as part of an ill-fitting Detroit frontcourt, it’s easy to forget how impressive Monroe was during his first three seasons. Nobody from the 2010 draft was more valuable through 2012-13 than Monroe, who totaled 27.4 WARP. Though Monroe doesn’t have a clear defensive position (he’s a subpar rim protector as a center, but struggles defending quicker power forwards), his RPM is equally strong. Just 24, Monroe belongs among the top free agents on the market.
4. Greg Monroe | C | RFA
2013-14 Team: Detroit Pistons
2013-14 Salary: $4.1 million
Suggested AAV: $14.5 million/year, four years
Getting a high-end player to take a discount on his fourth contract is a lot easier than convincing a player coming off his rookie scale to skim off the top. High-end players already have amassed take-home salaries that look like the GDPs of small nations. But it’s not as easy for Monroe. This is his first big contract, and he holds very important leverage: a dearth of young, talented bigs on the free-agent market this summer. Close comp Derrick Favors signed a four-year, $48 million deal last fall; had he waited, he could have cashed in on the rising cap and thin market for bigs. Monroe is in the driver’s seat, but I wouldn’t commit to more than a four-year, $58 million deal.
In case you were wondering, Pelton has Kyle Lowry, Dirk Nowitzki, and Eric Bledsoe in 3rd-5th and Elhassan has Bosh ranked 3rd. I believe both of these writers are slightly overrating Monroe. But, if their articles are anything to go on, Monroe should be looking at a robust market for his services.