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Pistons news: Brandon Jennings, Khris Middleton helped Greg Monroe choose Milwaukee; Dave Bing speaks to team; Vince Ellis weighs in on offseason

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Detroit and Milwaukee's shared history will be even more interesting as both teams battle for playoff contention.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Monroe reached out to Brandon Jennings, Caron Butler about decision to join Bucks

Greg Monroe's decision to sign his 2015 Qualifying Offer certainly seemed like an inauspicious start to Stan Van Gundy's tenure in Detroit, questions arose of the big man's fit in his new coach's system, and whether or not he was worth the max deal so many seemed to want to bestow on him. Fast forward to the start of the summer, where after a roller coaster season filled with unforgettable -- and quite forgettable -- moments, the Pistons are again staying at home to watch the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year... the writing was on the wall for Greg Monroe.

With rumors the Louisiana native was being courted by the Lakers, Blazers, Celtics, Knicks and Bucks, Moose turned to the people he trusted the most with his decision -- his former teammates. As Yahoo Sports' Michael Lee reports, Monroe reached out to Brandon Jennings and Caron Butler for answers, both players had spent time in Milwaukee and were well respected veterans in the Pistons' locker room, and apparently, their talks with the soft-spoken big man seem to have sold the Bucks as a destination more so than coach Jason Kidd and his group of rising young stars did.

Former teammates Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight were also involved in the discussions, with the former essentially in charge of the recruitment and pitch made to the 25-year-old center from the onset of the 2014-2015 season. Middleton's pitch seemed to make more and more sense as the Bucks' offseason improvements made them a playoff contender, while the Pistons' seemed to sputter as the team limped to a 5-23 start.
"He's a great friend of mine, so I didn't want to do too much," Middleton said. "I just know, I told him he had to make the best decision for himself, but we wanted him here and we needed him to take it to the next level."

Middleton was persistent in calling and texting Monroe - "every five minutes," Monroe said with his baritone laugh - to convince him that he needed to come. "I was looking at where I felt I would have the most success, where I would fit in, help a team and continue to move forward. I definitely feel like I made the right decision."
Having moved to a division rival, Monroe will have the opportunity to face his old team four times during the course of the 2015-2016 season, with a re-tooled and hungry Detroit squad looking to witness the post-season firsthand, and, who knows, they might square up against the Bucks in the first, second, or third round in the near future.

Vince Ellis discusses offseason moves, rumors

In an interview with Hoops Rumors' Chuck Myron, the Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis sits down and discusses some of the lingering questions and factoids about the Pistons' offseason and direction. Here are a few excerpts:

On the Pistons' interest in Markieff Morris:

Simple, they think he is a good player. Grantland had a recent piece on the value of the assist and continued telling us the foolishness of the midrange jump shot. The article points out that Markieff is one of the guys who actually can do work from midrange area. Guys with a heat map that covers the three-point circle are valuable. Also he is locked up for four more years at $8MM per. With the escalating salaries the contract is a bargain. The Pistons will have competition IF the Suns decide to make a move.

On who won't be a Piston come opening night:

Getting rid of two — Danny Granger and Cartier Martin — will probably be easy. There were indications Granger would be waived or traded as soon as he was acquired from the Suns. Health is an issue and he has been allowed to stay away from the team during camp to rehab. Martin was a disappointment in his first season with the Pistons and an issue with his right hand has prevented him from getting time during the preseason. The last roster spot appears to come down to Reggie Bullock and camp invite Adonis Thomas. But Bullock has been a revelation and Thomas has been hampered by a sore Achilles.

On whether or not Reggie Jackson has proven to be worth the five-year, $80 million contract he signed during the summer:

After a subpar game in the first preseason game, Jackson has been more than solid, shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three-point range in the next three games. If he can have those numbers be 45% and 35% in the regular season, you have a guy living up to his contract - at least by today's standards when a lot of guys have got eye-opening numbers.

The whole Q&A session is short yet informative, with both reporters discussing the Pistons' offseason moves and rumors, so if you feel you've missed out on some coverage, I'd recommend you have a read-through of the interview.

Dave Bing talks to current Pistons about the importance of off-court philanthropy

Former Piston and Detroit mayor Dave Bing was at the Palace of Auburn Hills earlier this week, where he met up with the players and discussed the importance of giving back to the community. Bing was invited by Pistons coach and executive Stan Van Gundy, who thought that current players could benefit from what the veteran had to say regarding off the court philanthropy and helping out local communities. Per The Detroit News' Rod Beard:

"I've said to several people that when you think about him, sports and entertainment, business and politics — three of the biggest areas (in our lives) — how many people have succeeded at that high level across all three areas?" Van Gundy said. "I'm sure there are others; I can't come up with them. For a guy to be in the top 50 players in NBA history, start his own company from scratch and build Bing Steel to 1,300 employees and be a mayor of one of the largest cities in America — who does that? A phenomenal opportunity to have the guy be in our hometown and spend time with our players and we're all very lucky to have him come and the players are looking forward to it."

Bing and Van Gundy met over the course of the summer, with Dave having made a very strong impression on the Pistons' head coach. Stan was reportedly so impressed about Bing's views on pro athletes and their role and responsibilities to the community, their fans and their neighborhood off the court that he figured his players could learn from the Hall of Fame player.

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