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Woj: Greg Monroe doesn't want to return to play 'with these Pistons'

The NBA's most-connected writer says Monroe would rather not return to Detroit and that the Pistons have tried with no success to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal with other teams.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

While Andre Drummond might want Greg Monroe back in a Detroit Pistons uniform, the feeling, apparently, is not mutual. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the most well-connected, well-sourced NBA writer dropped a Woj bomb on my heart while chatting with Aime Mukendi Jr. on his podcast AIMEzing Words during a basketball camp at Wojnarowski's alma mater St. Bonaventure.

Woj  and Mukendi touch a number of topics, including the plight of restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and Monroe. The remarks about Monroe begin around the 16-minute mark. A transcript of those remarks is below.

Greg Monroe, Detroit is trying to help him with some sign-and-trade possibilities around the league. Monroe doesn't really have a great interest in going back and playing with these Pistons. If they're going to move him in a sign and trade they gotta get value for him. They've got to get back some significant players and some significant talent to compensate for that loss.

They haven't been able to find a deal for him. He could take what's called a qualifying offer and then play one year and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But that's risky. You're risking injury. You're on a one-year deal when you could right now get the security of a long-term extension.

[...] They've talked to Atlanta. I believe they talked to Phoenix for a while. Those are the two off the top of my head that they had conversations with and that there was interest. Portland had some interest early on but those teams moved on and they realized, you know, again, they could have signed Monroe to an offer sheet but Detroit would have likely matched it. They weren't just going to let him leave for nothing.

Emphasis mine.

The simple reading of that comment is obviously that Monroe flat out doesn't want to return to Detroit. But why?

Warning: I am about to embark on baseless speculation armed with no special or inside knowledge. It is the offseason and it's about Greg Monroe. Consider it a coping mechanism.

Now, I'll read way too much into things and note that Woj said "these Pistons" as opposed to just "Pistons."

More specifically, if he sees this as obviously Drummond's team going forward, as it should be, then perhaps he just wants to go somewhere else.

That seems to indicate he doesn't like the makeup or direction of the team. And there could be two sources of content from Monroe's end there, since I doubt he minded that the team added a bevy of 3-point shooters this offseason.

One, as previously reported, Monroe doesn't want to return to the team if Josh Smith is also still a member of the Pistons. Monroe vehemently denied that he had demanded any such thing but demanding he be traded and letting the team no you want to move on because Smith is there are two entirely different things.

The second option is Andre Drummond. More specifically, if he sees this as obviously Drummond's team going forward, as it should be, then perhaps he just wants to go somewhere else. Especially if he'd rather play center than power forward.

If Monroe wants to the No. 1 big man option on offense, he might be seeing less or a role for himself if he hears Stan Van Gundy talking more and more about how much more offensive responsibility he wants to give to Drummond.

To this point Drummond has strictly been an opportunistic "see ball, dunk ball" scorer. But if SVG thinks he can mold Drummond into a back-to-the-basket presence then there really is less of a role for Monroe.

So does this all mean that Monroe is definitely not coming back? Not yet. Nobody has found a team that can satisfy both Monroe's desire to play and sign a big contract and the Pistons' desire to get back a sizable return for letting their talented big man move on.

So does he sign a qualifying offer? It looks more and more likely but I still say it doesn't happen. Even if Monroe just signed a short-term deal with the Pistons, he would have the security he wants without a long-term commitment and the Pistons would have a more attractive trade piece than if he was a player about to enter restricted free agency.

Now your thoughts.

H/T to MrHappyMushroom who had it first in comments.