When Greg Monroe returned Saturday night to the place where he played for Georgetown University, it was also an occasion for his agent, David Falk, to watch him play. Monroe turned in what has become a typical performance of late – 21 points and 10 rebounds – in the Pistons’ 99-95 loss.
Reporters, including Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, apparently sought out Falk at halftime for his thoughts about what the future might hold for his client, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. And according to Ellis:
Greg Monroe's agent said Saturday night that the pending unrestricted free agent is "absolutely" open to re-signing with the Detroit Pistons.
While Falk talked extensively about Monroe’s options, he also made it clear that any talk right now is purely "speculation." David Mayo of MLive also reported on this story, and he provided this quote from the renowned agent who once represented Michael Jordan:
Only the media discuss this kind of stuff during the season. I don't ever sit down game to game and take his temperature. It's like the playoffs -- the only thing that matters is where is his head at on July 1? We've got a long ways to go before we get there. It's all speculation and he can change his mind 20 times between now and then. So I leave him alone. There'll be a time for discussion and that time is not now.
Falk said that Monroe can expect "the same money" no matter where he chooses to go, so the "intangibles" will play the biggest role in his decision:
It's a question of what the intangibles are. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to play with? Is there a coach you want to play for? Do you want to be a star of a rebuilding team, or do you want to be a complement player on a championship team? So it's all intangible. So when the season's over, and he has time to unwind, we'll sit down and discuss what his priorities are, and try to make a short list of teams.
As Ellis noted in his story posted online Sunday, the Pistons can actually offer a five-year contract with 7.5 percent raises, while other teams can offer no more than four-years with 4.5 percent annual increases. Yet while the money may not be "the same," the expected explosion in the salary cap due to the NBA’s new TV deal could cause Monroe to shy away from a longer contract.
According to Mayo, Falk discussed those salary cap ramifications with reporters, too:
If the cap is at ($68 million) this year (2015-16 season), and the following year it goes to ($90 million), you're going to have to decide how to plan for It. You have to determine how you want to plan your career management based on where the cap is, and we're going to do that.
Falk revealed that while some sign-and-trade avenues were explored last summer, Monroe did not seek out offer sheets from any other teams. Of course, once another team made him an offer, Detroit would have had the opportunity to match it and retain him. While signing the Qualifying Offer last summer cost him money in the short-term ("Most players would have taken the money"), it allowed Monroe to become an unrestricted free agent. Falk said this decision was very carefully thought out by his client:
Greg is one of the brightest clients I've ever represented. He's very mature, he's very intelligent, he's very thoughtful, he's very analytical. I laid out all the options and he decided that he wanted to have options.
While for Pistons fans those options are basically two – stay or go – for Monroe there will probably be several very specific choices based on which teams make him an offer this summer. Expect the speculation to reach a fever pitch until "Moose" makes up his mind this coming July.