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Gores wants Monroe, says Drummond deserves max deal

Terry Foster
The Detroit News
Greg Monroe

Auburn Hills – Pistons owner Tom Gores wants to keep his big guys together and is going to do everything he can to re-sign forward Greg Monroe and take care of center Andre Drummond financially when the time comes.

Gores said he will be involved in the recruitment of Monroe, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, and said Drummond is a maximum contract player that he wants to keep.

"He (Drummond) is a maximum guy," Gores said Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. "He is not only a great player, but he is a great person."

Drummond must sign an extension by Oct. 31 or he becomes a restricted free agent the following season. The Pistons can offer both players more than any other teams. They can sign five-year deals with 7.5 percent annual raises. Other teams can offer four-year deals with annual raises of 4.5 percent.

Monroe, 24, said he plans to explore all his options before making a decision where to play, but said the Pistons are still in play, although speculation around the league has him leaving the Pistons. Speculation in New York is heavy that the Knicks will make a big run at Monroe.

"He will have ownership and a coach that is behind him and a real base for his life," Gores said of Monroe. "Whatever Greg is going to do is up to him, but he is a real pro."

Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy and Monroe have deliberately avoided talking about the issue publically during the season. They plan to talk informally for the next six weeks before teams can begin negotiations July 1.

"He and I have talked about it before," Van Gundy said. "It has not been about him. It has been about our team. He has been very, very professional about the thing. And Greg is a very good player and the type of person you want in your organization. No doubt about it -- he is highly professional, classy guy. He is all about the team. I am a big fan."

Drummond did not want to talk about his contract status Wednesday.

"I am here to play basketball man. I let all that deal with itself," Drummond said.

He refused to budge when pressed on the issue.

"Like I said, I am here to play basketball. I will deal with that when the time is right," he said.