In what has been one of the biggest surprises this summer, the NBA’s top two restricted free agents, Detroit Pistons’ big man Greg Monroe and Phoenix Suns’ guard Eric Bledsoe remain free agents. Many believe the Pistons and Suns will match any offer sheet either player signs but it is still a bit of a shock no one has made either player a deal they believed they could prevent the Pistons and Suns from matching.
On Tuesday, Monroe decided to take matters into his own hands. He will sign the Pistons’ qualifying offer before the deadline of October 1 and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Jeff Zillgit of The USA Today believes Bledsoe may now follow Monroe’s lead and sign his qualifying offer as well.
Monroe is in control of his destination next summer. While money always plays some role, Monroe will consider other factors, too: Does he want to play in a certain city? With a specific player or coach? For a franchise he admires? For a team ready to win now?
In a best-case scenario for Bledsoe, the Suns would have offered the deal he wanted, and this situation wouldn’t be unresolved in August. Or another team would have enticed him with an offer sheet and he would have signed a deal similar to what Charlotte offered and what Utah matched for Gordon Hayward. That didn’t happen either.
Now, Bledsoe is in position to take control of his situation. The Pistons will lose a lottery pick for nothing if a sign-and-trade can’t be completed, and the Suns are also on the verge of losing Bledsoe after next season for nothing.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 47.7% from the field, 35.7% from beyond the arc and 77.2% from the free throw line last season. 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.
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