On Tuesday Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News reported that Greg Monroe is willing to take the Detroit Pistons' $5.3 million qualifying offer to end his botched 2014 free agency and try again in 2015. There are three major reasons why no one will take the threat seriously.
No high-end restricted free agent has ever signed the qualifying offer
Not one. Think of all the weird, tortured restricted free agency cases we've had over the years, like Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Gerald Wallace and others. None of them resulted in the player signing the qualifying offer.
Ben Gordon is the closest example of a high-level case. After failing to reach a deal with the Bulls in 2008, Gordon signed the qualifying offer and received an absurd, painful five-year, $55 million deal with Detroit in 2009. But Gordon is a rare case: since 2003, only 13 first-round picks have ever taken the qualifying offer. Of those 13, only Spencer Hawes agreed to a long-term deal with the same team.
It turns out that below-market wage and a lack of long-term security isn't actually that desirable! Which brings us to Reason No. 2 ...
The Pistons would probably prefer Monroe to sign the QO at this point
It's not a threat if the party you are threatening would prefer the resolution you are threatening to enact. The Pistons have leaked some reasonably high contract offers that Monroe denied he's received.
Chances are the front office inflated the offer for the media leaks or there's an asterisk in there no one has revealed (like team options or unlikely incentives).
Regardless, the QO represents a below-market contract with no long-term risk. Why wouldn't the Pistons want Monroe to sign it? The only issue is that next summer Monroe would become an unrestricted free agent, which means Detroit could lose him for nothing. But it seems clear that the Pistons are not terribly concerned with retaining him at any cost based on the events of this summer.
Even if things break right for Monroe, the Pistons still have the upper hand on keeping him in 2015
Let's say Monroe signs the QO, plays 82 games and is awesome. He hits unrestricted free agency as a clear max player. Guess who can offer him the biggest contract? The Detroit Pistons! Will Monroe really leave money on the table due to hard feelings and spite? If he does, he still doesn't win.
Players -- more accurately players' agents -- have been threatening to sign the qualifying offer for ages. There's a reason no one takes those threats seriously. The QO is not an arrow in the players' quivers. It's a fake weapon.
If agents really want to be able to use it as a leverage point in the future, they need to amend the rules around it in the next collective bargaining effort. Chances are team owners are going to play ball on that account.