As the Detroit Pistons welcome in Stan Van Gundy, they might also be preparing to say goodbye to Greg Monroe.
There was a growing consensus around the NBA that whomever was selected to take over the Pistons’ front office would be willing to let Monroe walk this offseason, according to The Sporting News.
Monroe is a restricted free agent this summer, and Van Gundy — who was hired not only to be the coach but to have a say in personnel matters — is very fond of budding big man Andre Drummond, which doesn’t bode well for Monroe’s future in Detroit.
“There are two things that made that job better for Stan,” one general manager told The Sporting News. “One is the fact that he gets to make personnel decisions, that is a big deal of course. But the other is Andre Drummond. If you want to build your team around a young player, Drummond is the guy.
“You’re not going to build around both him and Monroe, they had too much trouble making that work. You pick Drummond and move on from Monroe.”
It is expected that the Pistons will transform the team to resemble Van Gundy’s old Orlando Magic teams with Dwight Howard — a center manning the paint and 3-point shooters around him. Drummond would slide into Howard’s role.
Because Monroe is a restricted free agent, another team will have to make him an offer, and the Pistons have a chance to match it.
Monroe drew interest from the Washington Wizards close to the NBA trade deadline. Wizards big man Marcin Gortat is a free agent after the season, and Monroe, 23, could be a younger replacement if Gortat cannot be retained. Gortat earned $7.7 million from Washington this season, whereas Monroe might command a max deal on the open market, according to The Sporting News.
The Atlanta Hawks could also make a play for Monroe in the offseason. The Hawks pushed the top-seeded Indiana Pacers to the brink of elimination in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and are rumored to hold Monroe in high regard. Management is convinced he could be the missing piece needed to help catapult the young core of Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Mike Scott to the next level.
One more team that might be in play is the Los Angeles Lakers, per the report. If the Lakers opt not to make any big moves around draft time, and the team isn’t confident in its ability to land Carmelo Anthony, it may target a young, second-tier free agent like Monroe instead.
However, the Detroit Free-Press has refuted the report that the Pistons want to get rid of Monroe. Beat reporter Vincent Ellis believes both management and Van Gundy has big plans in store for him.
League source: SVG is a big fan of Greg Monroe. Called Monroe last night when deal was final. Ownership group highly fond of Monroe.
— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) May 14, 2014
A verdict should come sooner rather than later as Van Gundy and the Pistons get the revamping their roster.