At this point, it doesn't look like Greg Monroe will achieve his agent's goal of signing a max contract -- there's simply not enough interested parties willing to test the Pistons' resolve to keep the big man. And since the Pistons are in the driver's seat for the whole process with the right of first refusal on any contract Monroe can sign, they can afford to wait as long as Monroe drags this out.
But while most fans have presumed that Monroe is holding out for the most money per season, what if part of the stalement is the result of Monroe wanting a shorter deal? From Steve Kyler at Basketball Insiders (emphasis mine):
Sources close to the process say there continues to be ongoing dialogue with the Pistons and that they do want to ink Monroe to a new deal.
The problem for the Pistons is that Monroe and his camp are not overly thrilled with the idea of signing a long-term deal at what they perceive to be less than market valuation.
Much like Bledsoe there is a sense that a deal is going to be reached eventually, the question becomes for how much and how long? The Pistons obviously want to lock Monroe in for as long as they can, especially if they can keep the number in the $10-$12 million per year range.
Monroe’s camp wants a short-term deal or a player option so he can hit the unrestricted market if he agrees to a lower dollar deal.
Read the full article for a few more details. Reminder for casual fans: The size of an NBA "max contract" essentially grows from one summer to the next -- it's a percentage of a team's total salary cap the year that he signs. So a max contract this year will be smaller than a max contract next year, and the year after that, as long as the salary cap continues to grow.
And since the salary cap is tied to league revenues -- and league revenues will skyrocket following the NBA's new TV deal -- it's advantageous for stars like LeBron James to sacrifice a bit of security for a chance at a much bigger slice of the pie down the road. But here's the catch: Monroe isn't LeBron James. He doesn't have LeBron's bank account to fall back on, and he doesn't have the entire league restructuring their entire payroll just for a chance to sign him.
Needless to say, usually players sign at least one big contract before gambling on future earnings. And a player like Monroe, who made a jump between his first and second years but has otherwise remained the same player, probably shouldn't risk his future earnings on the chance that his value will continue to climb when his development has stalled.
I'm not saying he's done improving -- it's very easy to explain away why his development plateaued. I'm biased, and it's always easy to talk about other people's money, but if I'm in his shoes, I don't leave this summer without a four-year deal, which still allows him the chance to be an unrestricted free agent at 28 in the prime of his career.
If Monroe settles for signing the qualifying offer, next summer he'll be competing with the likes of Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol (not to mention cheaper options like Tyson Chandler, Robin Lopez and Amir Johnson).
If he signs a two-year deal, the summer of 2016 unrestricted free agents currently include Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Al Jefferson, Joakim Noah and Al Horford -- not to mention restricted free agents (who admittedly will likely re-up before hitting the market) like Anthony Davis and Jonas Valeaciunas.
In other words, it's not suddenly going to get easier to get paid, even if the pie is theoretically larger. Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't -- just like splitting a pair of 10s in blackjack could result in more money ... or it could result in a pair of 16s. Take the sure money that's in front of you and start playing for the next hand.
Now your thoughts.