Update: Greg Monroe has officially signed the one-year qualifying offer with the Pistons, per Adrian Wojnarowski.
Detroit restricted free agent Greg Monroe has signed the qualifying offer, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) September 5, 2014
Following a failed series of long-term contract negotiations, big man Greg Monroe told the Pistons he'll sign the team's one-year, $5.5 million qualifying offer, according to USA Today's Jeff Zilgitt. Leaving possible long-term contracts on the table means Monroe will play out this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Monroe has until Oct. 1 to officially sign the contract. He will become only the 14th first-round pick to sign a qualifying offer since 2003. Of those 14, only one player, Spencer Hawes, eventually signed a long-term contract with the same team. There is still a chance Monroe doesn't play in Detroit next season: Zillgitt reports a sign-and-trade could still be a possibility, albeit an unlikely one.
Monroe was also mentioned as a target of the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Wizards in the last few months, but he never received an offer sheet from another team that would have forced the Pistons to match, unlike fellow restricted free agents Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons. That doesn't mean there wasn't interest in Monroe this offseason. Two teams were willing to give Monroe a max deal, according to Zillgitt, but were unable to work out a sign-and-trade with the Pistons.
Throughout the process, one rumor indicated Monroe wouldn't re-sign with Detroit if Josh Smith was still on the team, but Monroe made sure to squash the whispers on Twitter. The big man also went to Twitter to quiet a report that he turned down a five-year, $60 million offer and a four-year, $58 million offer. The free agent said such offers were never put on the table.
Instead, the 24-year-old big man returns to the Pistons for one year in the hopes that he'll cash in when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Monroe averaged 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last year while playing alongside Andre Drummond and Smith. Detroit won just 29 games in 2013-14, and while a talented but odd-fitting frontcourt has yet to find success, there's reason to believe the Pistons should be optimistic about the return of Monroe.
New coach and team president Stan Van Gundy had great success with the Orlando Magic by putting a perimeter-oriented team around center Dwight Howard, however. The fact that the Pistons could not come to a long-term agreement with Monroe indicates they may not value him as much as initially thought.