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Greg Monroe and the Pistons have something to prove to each other

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Monroe wouldn't commit to the team because of "things," while the Pistons have 82 games to decide if a pairing of Monroe and Andre Drummond even makes sense.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever went wrong last year, Greg Monroe isn't willing to throw anyone under the bus.

Speaking at media day Monday at the Pistons practice facility, the Detroit big man wouldn't get into the details of why he turned down a multi-year deal and instead opted to sign his one-year qualifying offer.

"There were a few things" and "there's been a lot of different things here" was the closest Monroe came to addressing the reasons behind his somewhat unprecedented decision.

Monroe was more interested in talking about what those things weren't than what they were. He called the rumor he wanted Josh Smith off the team "lies." He said it had nothing to do with the city of Detroit or the surrounding area. He said he loved the city, loved the people that work for the organization. He said he likes new head coach and Stan Van Gundy and what he has done with the team for the past month.

Those things, whatever they are, are preventing Monroe from committing to the Pistons during what would be the prime of his career.  Monroe said, however, that just because he wasn't ready to commit in the offseason doesn't mean he won't be open to another deal a year from now when he is a restricted free agent.

"Everybody assume that you're automatically leaving because you don't sign a long-term deal, but that's not the case."

"Everybody assume that you're automatically leaving because you don't sign a long-term deal, but that's not the case," Monroe said.

So, taking everyone at their word, it seems that the Pistons have a year to make the case that Monroe should consider Detroit his long-term home. But that evaluation period goes both ways. This is also the last year the Pistons will have to consider whether Monroe makes sense as a long-term fit next to Andre Drummond.

"The offseason will be the offseason and he'll have to make some decisions and we'll have to make some decisions," Van Gundy said of the Monroe situation.

And of all the crimes head coach Maurice Cheeks and Joe Dumars committed last season, his inability to properly set the stage for evaluation of Monroe and Drummond together was the biggest. The fact that the two possible cornerstone players shared just 308 minutes on the floor together as the sole big men on the floor was criminal.

I'm not interested in casting blame but the Josh Smith at small forward experiment clearly put each player in a position that made it more difficult to succeed on the court.

Van Gundy clearly knows what a failure that experiment was last season, and he seems unlikely to repeat it.

Will it be too little too late? Who knows. There is no indication that Monroe was anxious to re-sign in Detroit and there is no indication Detroit was anxious to sign Monroe to a max contract.

But they clearly wanted Monroe back more than Monroe wanted to commit to coming back.

"Greg's not just a good player, he's a great player," Pistons owner Tom Gores said. "We're committed to Greg. He's on our team now. We want Greg on board for a long time. I think we'll have a good enough season that we'll attempt to do that with Greg."

Both sides, it seems, has something to prove. That the player and the team are worthy of each other, or, perhaps, that they should finally go their separate ways.