Greg Monroe says Pistons still a 'viable option'

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

One moment Greg Monroe was talking about Pistons owner Tom Gores.

The next, the soon-to-be free-agent forward was talking about possibly staying with the Pistons.

"I don't know why people have the notion or the thought that I am just out of here already, like it is one foot out the door," said Monroe, 24. "At the end of the day, I am going to do what any free agent would do. I will listen to everybody and assess it."

Monroe, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, said he'll meet with Gores and Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy.

Monroe also insists the Pistons, who could offer him a five-year max deal, are a viable option, calling them the front-runner to sign him.

"I have ties here; I have been here my whole (adult) life," Monroe said. "They drafted me, so of course I am going to listen to them with the same ear as I listen to everybody else. They have the upper hand."

But things aren't that simple.

The Pistons flubbed things before when they declined to offer Monroe a max deal and instead signed Josh Smith. The belief was Smith would turn the Pistons around. Monroe instead signed a $5.479 million qualifying offer to skip restricted free agency and test the market this summer.

And Smith? He was released.

If Monroe does leave — he, along with Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, Memphis' Marc Gasol and Cleveland's Kevin Love likely will be the most sought after free agents — Detroit could target Golden State's Draymond Green (Michigan State), a restricted free agent.

But first things first. There's that meeting with Gores and Van Gundy that needs to take place.

"You know I talked to him multiple times," Monroe said. "I know what he is all about and I understand what he is trying to do. I have had some battles with them sometimes.

"If he feels I am important and he wants to come down I appreciate it."