The Detroit Pistons have presented an offer to restricted free agent Greg Monroe that would make the big man the highest paid player on the team, but it is still not enough to convince Monroe to sign a contract.
That latest bit of news comes from Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who is plugged in and has covered the Greg Monroe saga better than anyone else. The pertinent info from Ellis:
The Pistons have moved from the initial five-year, $60-million offer and an offer that's slightly better than the four-year, $54-million deal that Josh Smith signed last summer is on the table.
But the offer to make him the highest paid player on the roster hasn't brokered an agreement. And negotiations aren't ongoing.
There is a lot to digest in these two sentences so let's go slowly.
First, it presents actual contract proposals with hard numbers so we're not just throwing around words like "the max."
The only reported previous hint we've had regarding negotiations were that the team was trying to structure a deal "in the range of" the Marcin Gotat deal, who signed with the Wizards for five years and $60 million. According to Ellis, the Pistons indeed offered the same contract, but more importantly, are willing to go above and beyond that number and make Monroe the highest-paid player in franchise history.
And being the highest-paid player could be about more than just dollars and cents to Monroe and the team. The Pistons might be trying to show Monroe they are committed to him above and beyond their commitment to fellow big man Smith, who was signed last offseason. And for Monroe, he might want some tangible evidence that he is above Smith on the depth chart and in the pecking order long term as there were signs of tension in the locker room as the big three experiment continuously fizzled out last year.
And Monroe was frequently the odd man out, often getting pulled midway through the fourth quarter as his team (the worst fourth-quarter squad in the NBA) punted away game after game. As they say, money talks, and a deal that pays Monroe more than Smith speaks loud and clear.
But the fact that such an offer still isn't good enough for Monroe might also speak loudly. In one respect perhaps it is just Monroe's agent David Falk knowing what offer is on the table and doing his due diligence around the league to make sure there are no better offers to be had, either straight up or through a sign-and-trade.
While only the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers currently have the salary cap space to best Detroit's reported offer, a new market for Monroe could possibly emerge once the Kevin Love drama plays out, and to a lesser extent with the drama between fellow restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe and the Suns reportedly getting nasty.
But there is also another way to view this refusal to sign on the dotted line: that Monroe is simply uninterested in coming back to the Pistons. This is an understandable proposition as he has endured nothing but losing in Detroit, Smith is still on the team and the franchise is obviously in Andre Drummond's hands going forward.
If Monroe doesn't see a role for him going forward, especially with Smith still on board, then perhaps he is more focused on working to find the best sign-and-trade destination for himself.
If I was a betting man, I'd say that the former is much more likely than the latter. And if the Pistons' latest offer is legitimate, and I have no reason to believe it's not, then it becomes even more unlikely that Monroe would simply settle for his $5.5 million qualifying offer.
Now your thoughts.