Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower spoke to the media today about the upcoming NBA draft, but it was perhaps a comment about Greg Monroe that was most newsworthy. Van Gundy admitted he was "not entirely optimistic" about bringing Monroe back to Detroit as an unrestricted free agent.
The writing seemed on the wall when the Pistons traded for Ersan Ilyasova. Paired with Anthony Tolliver, Detroit seemed just about set at power forward.
Monroe figures to be a highly courted free agent this summer, if for no other reason than he's one who is most likely to actually change teams. When SB Nation posted their ranking of top free agents this summer, Moose ranked an unflattering 16 - but only a handful ahead of him were unrestricted and without a player option. He's supposedly on the wish list of most of the top markets like the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, and certain to land at least a near max offer.
For Van Gundy's part, he's been non-committal about Monroe since his arrival in Detroit. He's always spoken with great praise toward Moose and seemed disinterested in trading him in order to give a chance at re-signing. When the season ended, he said " We have a pretty good idea what it would cost us to retain him. I don't think this is going to go down to a negotiation thing. He's got to look at the landscape of what he wants and what he values. We love Greg but I don't think this is about how many love notes we drop between now and July 1."
With the Pistons already moving to fill their starting power forward vacancy, it's understandable why Van Gundy wouldn't see Detroit as the place that has what he wants and values.
Van Gundy also noted that the biggest needs in free agency were the starting small forward and backup center roles. That comment gives us a couple of insights. First, it suggests that re-signing Monroe isn't one of the top priorities. Second, that the backup small forward job will likely be filled in the draft.
He also shot down the rumors with the Knicks, suggesting a Tim Hardaway Jr. and Brandon Jennings trade was in the works.
SVG expects to find a starting small forward in free agency or on the trade market. Will be "prime focus headed into July."
— Jake Chapman (@Chapman1051) June 22, 2015