Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the New York Knicks appear to be his main suitor. In fact, one league executive called Monroe to the Knicks "about as close to a done deal as you can get," according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Free-agent recruiting cannot begin until July 1. So, as Isola notes, this likely means representatives of both Monroe and the Knicks have indicated their interest -- if a deal has been struck already the Knicks could be charged with tampering.
As the free-agency period draws closer, let's take a closer look at the Monroe-Knicks rumor.
Why it makes sense
Chances are slim that Monroe remains with the Pistons. Last summer he signed Detroit's qualifying offer so that he could be in complete control this summer. Monroe and his agent, David Falk, are looking for a max contract, and the Knicks are willing to do just that.
With Phil Jackson at the helm, the triangle offense is always a consideration for New York. Jackson's friend, Charley Rosen -- who has been described as a triangle savant -- told the NY Post that Monroe would be a great fit in Jackson's system.
The Knicks will be fresh off the worst season in their storied history, but, with a likely top-three pick, could add either Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor to the mix. A front line with a healthy Carmelo Anthony, Greg Monroe and either Towns or Okafor looks great on paper.
Monroe is having his best year yet as a pro, averaging career highs in points and rebounds at 16 and 11 per game, respectively. Now in his fifth year, the big man has put up solid numbers each year of his career. He would certainly be an upgrade for the Knicks.
Meanwhile, the Pistons would make sense as his second choice given he's spent his entire career in Detroit, but they might let him go to the Knicks for a max contract. Monroe missed 11 games in March and April with a knee injury, and the Pistons played well without him, going 7-4 in that stretch.
Why it doesn't make sense
The Pistons showed many signs of improvement this season, and Monroe was a big part of that despite the recent upswing when he was out due to injury. This was Stan Van Gundy's first season in Detroit, and once he rid the Pistons of Josh Smith, the team almost clawed its way into the playoffs. Detroit is a team on the rise. The Knicks, meanwhile, are coming off a miserable season.
The chance to play with Anthony is enticing, but being paired with a rookie big man like Towns or Okafor is nothing like playing alongside Andre Drummond, an absolute beast in the paint.
There's also a chance Monroe ends up somewhere other than Detroit or New York. There's a possibility players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap end up in new locations, and those teams will be looking to reload.
If this season's trade deadline was any indication, there will be a lot of moving around this summer -- and much of it will be unpredictable. Even if it's very likely that Monroe ends up a Knick, he could be provoked to head to a team that's ready to contend right away.
Likelihood of happening (8.5/10)
"As close as you can can get to a done deal" is some strong language. Add that to the fact that New York can offer a max contract, and it seems that Monroe going to the Knicks will happen. However, never count out Van Gundy. He was unable to sign Monroe to a long-term contract last summer, but Monroe does know what he's getting from Van Gundy. There's also that chance that another team swoops in and steals Monroe at the last second. For now, though, it's likely Monroe will be a Knick to begin the 2015-16 season.