Tuesday’s announcement that the Detroit Pistons have come to an agreement with former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy to coach and run their basketball operations is an incredibly positive thing for a somewhat rudderless organization. However, if a report is true, the arrival of Van Gundy in the Motor City will send one of the team’s best players, big man Greg Monroe, out of town.
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News brings the latest on Detroit’s plans:
Even before the Pistons made the bold move of hiring Stan Van Gundy to be their coach and run their basketball operations on Tuesday, there was a growing consensus around the league that whomever was tabbed to replace Joe Dumars in the front office would be willing to let restricted free agent Greg Monroe go.
Now, with Van Gundy in place on an eyebrow-raising contract—five years, $35 million—there is near certainty among league executives that Monroe has played his last game for Detroit.
With or without Van Gundy on board, the writing was on the wall for a member of Detroit’s much ballyhooed frontcourt, as the Pistons currently employ Andre Drummond and Josh Smith in addition to Monroe. Because Drummond is easily the best asset for Detroit right now, any “decision” comes down to Smith versus Monroe, and because of the significant burden of Smith’s large contract, it makes all the sense in the world that Monroe would be on the outs.
That said, the 23-year-old Monroe is a quality player that will have numerous suitors. In the past few days, there have been reports linking both the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers to a pursuit for his services, and it will be intriguing to see where the former Georgetown big man lands in the future.