Greg Monroe will sign the qualifying offer, and he's told the Pistons about his intentions, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports. Doing so will keep him a member of the Pistons for the 2014-2015 NBA season, and he could only be traded with his consent. Monroe would then hit the free agent market in the summer of 2015, and the Pistons would be powerless to stop him from leaving the franchise.
I'll be quick to point out that this hasn't been confirmed by any of the Pistons beat writers (at the time of writing), and none of my other go-to NBA reporters yet have the story. Zillgitt cites two anomymous sources who are "not authorized to speak publicly about Monroe's decision."
If true, I'm shocked. This has been my worst fear since Josh Smith was signed in the summer of 2013, and going into the summer, this seemed like the least likely of any possible scenarios. By signing the qualifying offer, Monroe leaves millions of dollars on the table he might never be able to regain, and he forfeits long-term security while risking injury.
Again if true, this is yet another tarnish on Dumars' legacy. If Monroe leaves via free agency, there can be little question that the toxic, losing culture, incompetent coaching carousel, and ill-fitted and mismanaged roster Dumars created are to blame.
We'll be watching closely for confirmation from additional sources, so stay tuned.
Interesting tidbit from Mike Prada on Twitter:
Only one 1st-rd pick has ever signed the qualifying offer, then re-signed to a multi-year deal with the same team next summer: Spencer Hawes— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) August 12, 2014
It appears the #Pistons are holding out hope that Monroe won't take the Q/O until he actually signs it...11th hour hope— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) August 13, 2014