Stan Van Gundy signed a five-year, $35 million deal with the Detroit Pistons to both coach the team and run its basketball operations, and his first big decision involves the free agency of forward Greg Monroe. Will Detroit pony up for a max contract to keep Monroe? At least one NBA general manager believes they won't and will instead focus on building around center Andre Drummond, according to The Sporting News' Sean Deveney.
Van Gundy took the job because his job title extends beyond the bench, but the opportunity to build around Drummond also played a major factor, the anonymous GM said.
And it doesn't take much brain power to understand why it was so appealing.
Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys
In Van Gundy's last NBA stop with the Orlando Magic, he had quite a bit of success with a young Dwight Howard. Van Gundy used a floor-spacing, inside-out attack well enough to get to the NBA Finals in 2009 and otherwise find major playoff success.
That brings us back to Monroe, who struggled to fit in well alongside Drummond the past two seasons. It of course wasn't the only issue in Detroit, but considering the financial burden the Pistons would take on by re-signing or matching Monroe's new contract, it may make sense for the Pistons to move on.
Deveney reports that the Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Lakers are two much-talked-about landing spots for Monroe. With Michael Jordan's Bobcats, Monroe would pair with center Al Jefferson to give a defensive-minded team a more potent offense. With the Lakers, the 25 year old Monroe would be a solid post option to team with Kobe Bryant should they fail to land a bigger-name free agent.
If Monroe is out, the Pistons would likely fill the power forward opening with a shooter that fits Van Gundy's offense. Exploring sign-and-trade options for Monroe is the first option, but it's likely that Monroe earns a max contract. At that rate it would be more difficult for them to work out a trade.
Monroe ultimately not returning may be an easy decision for Van Gundy, but attempting to get something in return will be an interesting task for the new leader in Detroit.