In the wake of Stan Van Gundy being named the Detroit Pistons new team president and head coach, folks are already speculating that restricted free agent Greg Monroe won't be retained. The knee-jerk reaction, it seems, is based solely on the type of offense Van Gundy preferred during his time with the Orlando Magic: namely, surrounding a dominant big man with three-point shooters.
But Mike Payne already debunked this line of thinking, pointing out that Van Gundy's offense during his first NBA stint with the Miami Heat looked nothing like his system in Orlando. If anything, Van Gundy's history suggests that he'll maximize the talents of his best assets in the most efficient way possible. So with that in mind, take reports like this from Sean Deveney at Sporting News, who spoke with a single unnamed NBA general manager, with a mountain of salt.
“There are two things that made that job better for Stan,” the GM told Deveney. “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.”
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, on the other hand, reports that one of Van Gundy's first priorities after signing the contract was reaching out to Monroe.
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
Not saying that Monroe won't leave. If a max offer comes it becomes dicey. But #Pistons don't want 6-10, talented big to just walk.— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) May 14, 2014
Ultimately, Detroit's decision will be decided by whatever the market will bear for Monroe. His agent, David Falk, made clear last summer that he wanted his client to explore all options in hopes of seeking a max contract.
"Greg isn't gonna go backwards between his third and fourth year," Falk said in an interview with Vincent Goodwill. "I don't think I've ever done an extension after a third year. In the 90's you maxed out a guy after his second, but the (CBA) rules are different now.
"When I evaluate things, with a player of Greg's stature: Take the money out of the equation. I can get it from five different teams. 'Are there players I want to play with? A coach I want to play for? A city I want to live in?' My job is to make the money as insignificant as possible (relatively)."
Deveney's single unnamed source is confident that Falk will get Monroe that max contract. “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 [ed. note -- Michael Jordan]. It's just a matter of whether the Pistons can get something back.”
Don't forget: Monroe is a restricted free agent. If he signs a max offer sheet with another team, the Pistons have the right of first refusal -- and they'd potentially end up with a cheaper contract, since Monroe can receive an extra year with greater raises were he to negotiate directly with the Pistons. All max contracts aren't created equal -- especially when you realize how big they're going to get a couple of years down the road. Remember, the salary cap will see a significant bump in the near future once the money starts rolling in from the league's new TV deals, making max contracts signed this summer seem like a relative bargain.
Even if by chance this single unnamed source is correct and Van Gundy hopes to jettison the talented big man, the Pistons are still in a decent spot, as the team would likely ink Monroe to a true max contract as part of a sign and trade while receiving fair value in return. But I think that theory is shortsighted, overlooking Van Gundy's talent of making the most of his best assets.
Now your thoughts.