Once former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy was named the head coach and president of the Detroit Pistons, many speculated that big man Greg Monroe’s days in the motor city might be numbered.
With the Pistons building around center Andre Drummond, it was widely believed Van Gundy would find a player who can stretch the floor in the front court next to Drummond much like he did with Dwight Howard in Orlando.
Plus, Monroe is now a restricted free agent. The Pistons owe forward Josh Smith $13.5 million in each of the next three seasons and he is better suited to play power forward than small forward. In two years, they will have to pay Drummond.
The Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic are both interested in Monroe while the Portland Trail Blazers are interested in acquiring Monroe in a sign-and-trade (they don’t have the cap space to sign him outright while the Magic do and the Hawks can create enough room to fit him by waiving newly acquired swingman John Salmons).
According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the Hawks interest is very real and they have already contracted Monroe.
The Atlanta Hawks contacted Greg Monroe tonight, according to source close to the situation. ATL’s interest in Monroe is very real.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 1, 2014
The Pistons aren’t ruling out a Monroe return and he will almost certainly be back if they can trade Smith.
Monroe put up 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 49.7% from the field and 65.7% from the free throw line last season.