The Greg Monroe restricted free agency saga has officially come to an end. After endless rumors on what was to come from Monroe’s free agency, Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports reports the big man has officially agreed to sign the qualifying offer for the 2014-15 NBA season.
Forward-center Greg Monroe has informed the Detroit Pistons’ he will accept the qualifying offer, play for Detroit in 2014-15 and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, two people familiar with Monroe’s plan told USA TODAY Sports.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about Monroe’s decision.
This isn’t a path often taken by marquee restricted free agents. By signing the qualifying offer worth $5.479 million, Monroe is basically agreeing to a one-year deal that’ll allow him the hit the free agent market unrestricted next season. Prior to free agency, Monroe was expected to be offered a max deal on the open market, but that never came into fruition.
Last season, Monroe was apart of a frontcourt that struggled to fit together. In the end, as the Pistons searched for cap flexibility going forward, Monroe found himself as the odd man out of the trio, with Josh Smith (bad contract) and Andre Drummond (potential) likely to remain with the team.
It’s unclear what’s next in line for the Pistons and Monroe. With a low salary, the Pistons could find themselves plenty suitors at the trade deadline, adding better players for an odd-fitting roster. If a trade isn’t worked out, Monroe could follow in the steps of Spencer Hawes who signed a qualifying offer with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011, only to re-sign with the franchise in the following free agency. The last option–the one that seems most likely–is Monroe moves on from Detroit after this season, landing a long-term deal elsewhere.
Monroe averaged 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game last season.