Traditional big men that can play well with their back to basket have become somewhat of a rare species in today’s NBA. These days it’s about the athletic type of bigs that can run up and down the court like a gazelle and jump out of the building.
But that’s not to say there aren’t any back-to-basket guys left. In fact there is a pretty good one available in the open market in the form of Greg Monroe.
The Detroit Pistons man is in the market for big, fat new contract. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to come to an agreement with the Pistons (who currently have first dibs thanks to his status as a restricted free agent), nor has he garnered serious attention from other teams, which is quite strange.
Monroe is a constant double-double threat having averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last year. That’s in addition to dishing out 2.3 assists and shooting nearly 51 percent for his career. And in a market where big men who produce similar (or even inferior) numbers, get rewarded – case in point, Marcin Gortat who received a five-year, $60 million deal-- Monroe has been seeking a deal worth a bit more than that and it’s no surprise.
Simply put, the Georgetown product is a better player than Gortat – he certainly has a lot more to offer on the offensive end. However the Pistons have been reluctant to give him the big pay day he so desperately seeks.
Furthermore, the Pistons hold all the power because no other team has come close to even agreeing an offer sheet with the 24-year-old, which is peculiar considering how many teams could use his services.
The Utah Jazz would have been a good fit since Enes Kanter hasn’t been able to live up to the hype that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. He would be a good fit alongside Derrick Favors because the Jazz power forward isn’t much of a scorer, but he is a great defender. As such, he would be able to protect Monroe, who isn’t exactly a stud on that end of the floor.
The Milwaukee Bucks would have also been interesting. Monroe would be a great compliment to Larry Sanders who, just like Favors, can be a shot blocking monster on defense, but doesn’t pose much of a threat offensively.
After re-signing Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks also (allegedly) expressed interest in a sign-and-trade with a package that included Amar’e Stoudemire, Tim Hardaway Jr and Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith. But the Pistons turned it down, because he held a lot more value than the offer they (allegedly) presented.
That brings me on to another point. Detroit clearly values Monroe quite a lot by the looks of and would like to resign him on a long-term deal. However they don’t like him enough to pay him top dollar for his services?
Then again, I suppose you can’t really blame them. After all, why bid against yourself, especially when you're operating from a position of power? Players try get the most amount of money possible while teams aim to get quality players as cheaply as possible. That's just the nature of the business.
According to some reports, the Pistons are also not willing to add a player option into any negotiations. So essentially, Greg Monroe is stuck and the only way he gets out is either by receiving a substantial offer from another team (which doesn't seem likely right now). Signing a long term deal he is obviously unhappy about with Detroit. Or signing the $5.5million qualifying offer which would mean he stays another season, but would be an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
Although, that is very risky because he could get injured or simply have a bad season, thus risk losing a lucrative long-term offer.
Then again, at this rate, that could be his best bet. Also, his main competition as the premier big available behind LaMarcus Aldridge, next year, will probably be Paul Millsap or even Marc Gasol. That’s great news for him.