Connecting the path of Monroe to the Knicks isn’t that confusing when you actually look into Monroe’s ties in the NBA. Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent and quality big man who a number of teams, including the Knicks, will go after and possibly offer the max. Whether he warrants such a deal is up for debate though. The Knicks need a presence in the paint at both ends of the court as their man big man this season has been a mixed bag of talent with Jason Smith, Cole Aldrich and Lou Amundson. So yea, an upgrade is definitely needed.
Now, Monroe has taken upon himself to shut down any rumors of his departure from the Pistons.
“You write it’s a done deal, there must be another Greg Monroe around here that I don’t know about, because I haven’t agreed to anything,” Monroe said before the Pistons’ home finale today against the Charlotte Hornets….
“This stuff right here, it’s just unfortunate that we have to talk about it,” Monroe said. “I know we have to. But I talk to my agent every day, and I know for sure, I’m 100-percent, 1,000-percent confident, that he hasn’t done anything. If they (the Knicks) have interest, maybe they might have commented on that. But I haven’t even gotten to that place yet.”
Greg Monroe leaving the Pistons is all but assumed as something that will happen. He’s been benched this season from time to time and he hasn’t been allowed the same freedom as a guy like Andre Drummond. Plus, the team is most likely going to be looking towards keeping the duo of Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings at the guard positions and leaving Drummond down in the paint to learn and develop with these 2 bona-fide scorers. Drummond can run the pick and roll or do what he does best and pick up the scraps with some offensive rebounds. Those 3 guys will command some money though and Monroe might be the odd man out.
This summer, Greg Monroe will definitely get the max. He’s averaging 16.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game, and shooting nearly 50 percent plus he has a decent midrange game, plus since Josh Smith was sent out-of-town, he has looked way better playing alongside Drummond with no one else really taking shots away from them in the paint. It’s a proven fact that big men get paid in the NBA, there’s been numerous cases of guys getting paid just because they’re big. (I’m looking at you Erick Dampier, Antonio Davis and Raef LaFrentz).
But if any team is going to give him the max, this summer is the time to do it. A max deal this summer for Monroe makes him a “market max” contract guy next season. Paying him a max contract this season will not look bad when the cap spikes to $90 million or more in 2016 and will just skyrocket from there. A lot of guys are going to get bigger deals than you would think they deserve this summer just based off that fact. (I’m looking at you Khris Middleton, Draymond Green, Rajon Rondo and Enes Kanter).
Bottomline is, that conversation most likely happened between Monroe’s agent and the Knicks but we won’t know for certain until July 1st, or close to there. Monroe played on a cheap deal this season and it’s all over now, the struggles are done and a guy with Monroe’s skills is only getting older. For him to get the most out of the time remaining in his career, which could definitely go beyond this next contract, is understandable.
It’s also understandable if the Pistons let him walk and the Knicks scoop him up.