Talking to the media this week, Van Gundy said the situation was out of his control. Van Gundy was asked, ‘Well couldn’t you just end it by offering him a maximum contract?’ and his replay was short but interesting if you read between the lines.
"I don’t even know that, that’s true," Van Gundy said. "I don’t even know that’s true."
Monroe might not agree to a max deal?
If that’s the case then that means Monroe doesn’t want to play in Detroit or he doesn’t want to play in Detroit with the current roster, meaning he doesn’t want to fight for playing time with Josh Smith and Andre Drummond.
Could Monroe not be signing an offer sheet because signing one would give the Pistons a chance to lock him up long term?
We've already heard that Greg Monroe won't re-sign a long-term deal until/unless Josh Smith is traded -- a report that Monroe personally denied on Twitter and others familiar with Detroit's locker room dynamic described as out of character for Moose. I don't doubt that Moose's representation suggested that Monroe would prefer to be the No. 1 offensive option, but I doubt a stern demand actually came from his own mouth.
So what are we to make of Van Gundy's statement? Personally, I suspect he's (once again) trying to position himself as a passive observer in Monroe's free agency, and that the ball is squarely in Monroe's court.
Van Gundy set the tone early when he said the front office and ownership has already made a decision on every million-dollar increment of an offer sheet Monroe might get, and that he's just waiting to see what number Monroe brings back from the open market. And then he did it again when he said "it's got to be a mutual thing" for Monroe to return -- even though technically it doesn't, at least if you're talking about Detroit's right to match any long-term deal.
So with that in mind, I don't want to read too much into this or try to parse Van Gundy words to find meaning that might not actually be there. Van Gundy has a well-earned reputation for being a straight shooter as a coach, but he's quickly adopted the ambiguity required to be a successful team executive who doesn't tip his cards -- even if it results in everyone accidentally reading too much into his words.