The Detroit Pistons shot out of the free agency gate like a Triple Crown thoroughbred at the Kentucky Derby. They paid big money to get Jodie Meeks to sign on the dotted line and added Cartier Martin on Day 1. They reportedly make a big offer to Isaiah Thomas to take over starting point guard duties. And then ... Nothing.
A whole lot of nothing.
This paralysis was surely not because Detroit has been inactive. Rather, it is because the entire league is waiting out the current drama playing out with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and to a lesser extent Chris Bosh. Once these dominoes fall, the market instantly sorts itself out for the rest of the upper-tier free agents, including Thomas and Pistons restricted free agent Greg Monroe.
And while this stasis has been annoying, and the last thing the NBA world wants to see is Decision 2.0, complete with plane-tracking coverage, if James, Anthony and Bosh upend the status quo it will be a great thing for the Pistons.
If Anthony were to land in LA, it probably means the return of Pau Gasol to the Lakers (Anthony allegedly recruited Pau to join him in New York, after all). And if the Lakers tie up approximately $30 million in money to Anthony and Gasol, the team no longer has the cap space required to offer Thomas a deal better than the the three-year, $24 million deal the Pistons reportedly offered early in free agency.
This is a good thing because as reported by Vincent Goodwill, Thomas had two teams ranked ahead of Detroit on his wish list -- Los Angeles and Miami.
Speaking of Miami, if James signs in Cleveland it likely means that Bosh will leave Miami and sign with the Houston Rockets. This opens up oodles of cap space to lure Thomas, but makes the team a much less desirable destination. With shooting guard Dwyane Wade probably already in the fold, there aren't many marquee free agents available for the Heat to lure along with Thomas.
The best of the bunch, according to SB Nation's rankings, are all shooting guards and point guards, meaning they are redundant to Wade and Thomas.
And what of Greg Monroe?
If the Lakers, Rockets and Cavaliers all sign max-level free agents that creates three less opportunities for Monroe to receive a max offer. And while Los Angeles looked like a prime contender to poach Monroe from Detroit, I am unsure what kind of appeal a big-three-less Miami team holds for players. Regardless, there doesn't seem to be enough attractive assets to convince the Pistons a sign-and-trade is the best option.
That leaves Phoenix (another possible LeBron landing spot), cap-flush but unlikely to spend it Orlando and Philly and perhaps a bold Charlotte or Dallas offer as the only possible landing spots for Monroe.
As always, if the Pistons can't find an attractive sign-and-trade deal with any club they are likely to match whatever offer Monroe gets, even if it is the max.
What say you? Is your confidence level in regards to keeping Monroe and/or obtaining Thomas higher or lower than it was four days ago?