The free agency period has almost stretched three weeks and finally there seems to be some reports of movement for the Pistons and restricted free agent center Greg Monroe.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, there is more than just rumor to the fact that the Blazers and Pistons could have been top trade partners in a sign and trade.
Sources said the Pistons also seriously discussed various sign-and-trade scenarios this month that would have landed restricted free agent Greg Monroe in Portland, but the Blazers ultimately pulled themselves out of the race for Monroe by signing free-agent big man Chris Kaman to join Robin Lopez in the Blazers’ center rotation.
There has been no report on which players were discussed, but it would seem that Detroit would of been interested in Nicolas Batum, who would of filled a large need on the wing for Detroit.
Now, with both teams moving on through free agency, it’s near impossible to fathom them connecting on any type of sign and trade.
Of the teams rumored to be interested in a sign and trade — it was the Blazers that made most sense. The talent they were willing to deal fit the Pistons needs the best.
Many teams have shown interest in Monroe this offseason. The Lakers, Celtics, Rockets, Blazers, Magic and Mavericks, Pelicans and Hornets have all at least discussed the free agent internally.
With the Blazers, Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks, Hornets, Pelcians and Magic all moving on — it will be interesting to see if the market bodes well for the Pistons.
With restricted free agency though, it only takes one team.
David Falk, who represents Greg Monroe, was also Roy Hibbert’s agent in 2012. Out of nowhere, it was the Trail Blazers who were convinced to force Indiana’s hand. After Portland offered a max contract, Falk was able to negotiate a deal with the Pacers.
It’s that type of leverage in the past that has MLive’s David Mayo believing that at some level, Monroe has had chances to sign offer sheets. He’s just passed it up to force Detroit into a sign and trade.
That is, what if Falk has determined the best course of action is to take away the one hammer the Pistons have — first-refusal rights on their own restricted free agent — by not taking the step which allows them to exercise those rights?
If Monroe never signs an offer sheet, the Pistons have nothing to match, and Falk either can attempt to force a sign-and-trade to a preferred destination or advise his client to sign a qualifying offer which would make Monroe a 2015 unrestricted free agent.
If that latter possibility is realistic — and the strange silence thus far on Monroe fuels speculation that it is a tool being considered seriously — then the long-held assumption that the Pistons will be able to match any offer this summer could be reduced to one question:
Which is greater, the Pistons’ desire to keep Monroe, or Monroe’s desire to leave?
That’s the question that everyone wants answered.