Detroit Free Press
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services
The Detroit Pistons’ worst nightmare this summer came to fruition Friday.
Forward Greg Monroe, a restricted free agent, signed a one-year, $5.5-million qualifying offer, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to the Free Press. The person requested anonymity because the deal had not been announced by the Pistons or Monroe’s agent.
By signing the offer, Monroe’s days with the Pistons appear to be numbered. He has gambled millions in guaranteed salary so that he can become an unrestricted free agent next July.
The news was first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, citing unnamed league sources.
Monroe and the Pistons couldn’t agree to a long-term contract extension during the summer or work out a sign-and-trade agreement with another team.
The Pistons moved from their initial five-year, $60-million offer to one that was slightly better on a per-year basis than the four-year, $54-million contract forward Josh Smith signed last summer.
New president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy repeatedly had said that signing Monroe to a long-term deal was his No. 1 priority of the off-season.
The Pistons, however, were unwilling to offer Monroe a maximum contract, even though they were willing to make him their highest-paid player.
Monroe had until Oct. 1 to accept the qualifying offer, at a figure set by NBA rules.
By turning down guaranteed millions, Monroe is taking the chance he will not get hurt this season and his play will do nothing to decrease his long-term value.
Monroe’s decision also hampers the Pistons’ ability to trade him. He has veto power over any trade, and if he is traded, he would lose his Larry Bird rights, an exemption that allows teams to exceed the salary cap when signing their own players.
Monroe, 24, was drafted by the Pistons with the No. 7 pick out of Georgetown in 2010. He has averaged 14 points and nine rebounds in four seasons.
Last season, he averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds, playing in all 82 games. But it was a far from smooth season because the Pistons failed to mesh playing big men Monroe, Smith and center Andre Drummond at the same time.