After signing Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith in the offseason, Greg Monroe took a backseat with the Detroit Pistons, and needless to say, it didn’t work out too well. Detroit was expected to compete for a spot in the NBA Playoffs, but found themselves in the NBA Lottery once again.
As a result of their horrendous season, the Pistons made some coaching and management changes, including the firings of head coach Maurice Cheeks and general manager Joe Dumars. They made an interesting splash recently–hiring former Orlando Magic head coach, Stan Van Gundy, to lead the Pistons on the sidelines as head coach and personnel decisions as president of basketball operations.
There’s been much speculation about the potential roster moves Van Gundy may look to make, especially since the offseason signings which took place last year came from a different regime. Andre Drummond is Detroit’s franchise player, and with Josh Smith locked up under contract for the long haul, Greg Monroe has been left the odd man out.
With all that said, Monroe is a restricted free agent this summer and the Pistons, as well as Van Gundy, will have to either match a deal for Monroe or let him walk.
According to Sporting News, Van Gundy and Co. are leaning towards letting Greg Monroe–a player the Wizards have had interest in for a very long time–walk this summer.
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.
The Andre Drummond, Josh Smith and Greg Monroe experiment didn’t work this season for Detroit and it looks like they’re ready to move on. Van Gundy has experience in working with athletic bigs, most notably Dwight Howard, so it’s no secret that he’s more concerned with moving forward with Andre Drummond.
Washington has been interested in Greg Monroe for quite some time, and his connection to Georgetown University certainly couldn’t hurt. The Wizards were reportedly interested in acquiring Monroe via trade this season, but clearly didn’t have enough assets to make it work. Now that Monroe is a free agent, Washington could potentially pursue him, but it won’t be an easy decision.
Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza are both unrestricted free agents this summer, and if the Wizards are serious about acquiring Monroe, they’ll have to let one of them walk, which would most likely be Gortat. The Polish big man has been tremendous this season for Washington and had a breakout playoff performance against the Indiana Pacers in Game 5, making it an even tougher decision for Ernie Grunfeld and the rest of Washington’s front office.
Though Monroe is definitely a more attractive name than Gortat, it doesn’t mean he’s a better fit for Washington. Gortat has had one of the best seasons of his career with the Wizards and seems to mesh really well with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene. Gortat may currently be a better player than Monroe, but he isn’t getting any younger and Washington’s decision may be decided based on upside. At 23 years old, Monroe has a lot more upside than Gortat, who turned 30 in February.
If Monroe lands in Washington, the Wizards could build around a core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Greg Monroe. Of course, more teams (such as the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans as reported) are interested in Monroe and it’s not guaranteed he’d choose Washington over other destinations, though his connections to the nation’s capital suggest otherwise.