Today at the Detroit Free Press, I analyzed Monroe’s situation from the Pistons’ perspective:
The Pistons must trade Greg Monroe.
They can try to convince themselves otherwise. They can try to convince him otherwise.
But the longer they delay the inevitable, the more difficultly they’ll have finding a deal and the less they’ll get in return.
Monroe accepted the qualifying offer last off-season — a one-year, $5,479,934 contract — rather than a multi-year deal reportedly worth more than $13.5 million per season. Why? So he’d become an unrestricted free agent next off-season as opposed to last summer, when he was a restricted free agent and Detroit had the right to match any offer.
No matter how Monroe spun the decision — he said he didn’t want to commit long-term to a new regime he didn’t yet know — the Pistons should interpret it only one way: He wants out.
That he signed the qualifying offer in early September only reinforces the apparent message. If he were truly interested in remaining in Detroit long-term, why not wait until the Oct. 1 deadline and continue negotiating? The qualifying offer is usually seen as a last resort, but Monroe didn’t treat it that way.
At that point, the Pistons could have held out hope a season with Stan Van Gundy would sway Monroe. Winning cures all ills, and Van Gundy’s teams have always won.
But the Pistons aren’t winning. They’re 3-16, off to the worst start in franchise history and better than only the tanking 76ers.
Any realistic chance of impressing Monroe during the season is out the window. There’s no way he feels more positively about the team now than he did last summer, and last summer, he sacrificed a lot of guaranteed money for the right to leave as soon as possible. That says something.
It’s not as if the Pistons had much of a chance at retaining Monroe, anyway.
Here’s a complete list of first-round picks since the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect who signed qualifying offers:
- Michael Olowokandi
- Rasho Nesterovic
- Stromile Swift
- Vladimir Radmanovic
- Melvin Ely
- Mickael Pietrus
- Ben Gordon
- Robert Swift
- Raymond Felton
- Spencer Hawes
- Nick Young
- Marco Belinelli
- Kevin Seraphin
- Greg Monroe
Here’s a complete list of first-round picks since the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect who signed qualifying offers AND RETURNED TO THEIR TEAM:
- Spencer Hawes
That’s it. One of 12 with Seraphin and Monroe still pending. The Pistons must realize the odds are substantially stacked against them re-signing Monroe.
That’s why they should trade him now and get something in return.
I don’t blame the Pistons for falling into this mess. In hindsight, they should have offered Monroe more money or looked harder for a sign-and-trade last summer. They essentially dared him to take the qualifying offer, but that was a move no player of his caliber has ever done before. It wasn’t reasonable to expect Monroe would cross that bridge.
But he did, and we’re here.
The Pistons stink. Monroe can walk at the end of the summer.
It’s not difficult to see how this ends — unless the Pistons do something about it first.