With Stan Van Gundy calling the shots now in Detroit, there’s speculation that he’ll try to move restricted free-agent Greg Monroe. The 6-11 Monroe, who averaged 15 and 9 last season, will likely seek a max deal.
Sean Devaney of The Sporting News thinks Charlotte, New Orleans and the Lakers will have interest:
“If anyone is going to find a max deal for Monroe, it is David,” the GM said. “They will be aggressive and try to find something in the early stage of free agency. Remember, he was the agent for a guy who is now a team owner. It’s just a matter of whether the Pistons can get something back.”
That would be Michael Jordan, owner of the soon-to-be Charlotte Hornets. It’s possible that Charlotte will create enough cap space in the offseason to make a max offer to Monroe and pair him with Al Jefferson up front. That might be a defensive nightmare for coach Steve Clifford, but offensively, it would give Charlotte the East’s most potent power forward-center combo.
The Lakers are the other team most frequently mentioned among league executives when it comes to Monroe. If L.A. does not make any splashy moves around the draft, and if the Lakers are ready to concede that Carmelo Anthony is not coming, then they figure to target young, second-tier free agents—and Monroe is at the head of that list.
A max offer from the Lakers or Bobcats could be trouble for the Pistons, because it forces a stark choice: pay Monroe the max or lose him without return.
Van Gundy’s priority will be to work with Monroe and Falk to find a sign-and-trade deal, allowing Van Gundy to address the big weakness on his team—perimeter shooting, a vital aspect of Van Gundy’s offensive approach. The Pistons shot 32.1 percent from the 3-point line, which was 29th in the league last season.
Multiple league executives said that New Orleans, where Monroe is from, would be on his list, and it is easy to imagine a pairing of Monroe with young star big man Anthony Davis.
The knock on Monroe is defense. For a man nearly 7-feet tall, he averages a mere 0.6 blocks per game. I don’t think that qualifies as the “rim protection” Danny Ainge is seeking.