Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe is receiving the outside interest that most expected this offseason, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the latest to consider joining the bidding war for his services, reports ESPN's Marc Stein. The Cavs join the Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks as teams wanting to make Monroe an offer too high for Detroit to match.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger has sources that believe the Pistons are likely to seek out sign-and-trade options if Monroe receives a max offer sheet elsewhere. How likely is it he isn't with the Pistons next year?
Why Monroe would leave
The Pistons have made re-signing their young big man a top priority as well and have the ability to match any offer. But with Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings eating up cap space over the next two seasons, and center Andre Drummond looking at free agency in two summers, new president and coach Stan Van Gundy is looking at a tough financial decision if it comes to Monroe getting a max deal, as expected.
NBA Free Agency
NBA Free Agency
Monroe could be making around $15 million in his first season of a new contract should he receive such a max deal, assuming the salary cap projection of $63.2 is accurate. Detroit has all the power here. Even if Monroe signs a max offer sheet out of the Pistons' price range, they will have the leverage to work out a trade to get something in return. The possibility of getting something in return at least would make the Pistons more comfortable letting him go. Expect that to be a discussion if they don't want to pay Monroe.
What would keep Monroe in Detroit?
Van Gundy has made it clear that he covets both of Drummond or Monroe. This isn't a one-or-another issue on the court, though it is from a financial perspective. Monroe is looking at a max deal because he averaged 15.2 points, 9.3 boards and 2.1 assists per game and is arguably Detroit's most efficient offensive player. And Detroit can arguably make a future frontcourt of Monroe and Drummond work because they do different things well.
Monroe is also only 24 years old. It could be pricey to lock him in considering the rest of the roster, but the Pistons would have to consider that they still might be able to free up cap space by moving smaller contracts over the next two years. The Pistons would have to see a really appealing sign-and-trade offer come their way to let him go.
The likelihood Monroe leaves
Monroe is more than likely going to get that max deal, and when he does it'll be on Pistons management to make a decision. He's a young player with a unique skillset, so they'll need an impressive trade offer that frees salary space sooner rather than later and gets them a draft pick or young player as well. Worst case, they match a fair offer for a talented player. Give it a 30 percent chance he's not in Detroit next year.