NBA Free Agency: Updates on Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe, Others
By Josh Haar
Apr 16, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe (10) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Although the NBA is enduring it’s dog days of August, some notable free agents still remain unsigned. In addition, one player in particular did agree to a deal, but it is not necessarily everything he had hoped.
With that, let us commence:
Monroe and the Pistons have finally come to terms. However, it’s not exactly what either side desired.
Via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
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.
Monroe, 24, was a restricted free agent this summer but decided not to sign an offer sheet with another team or sign a multiyear extension with the Pistons.
He instead will be one of the most highly sought-after free agents next offseason.
Detroit had been attempting to work out an extension for quite some time, most recently offering the big man a slightly better deal than teammate Josh Smith’s four year, $54 million contract. However, Monroe was looking for a larger payday than anything the Pistons ever offered (which also allegedly included a 5 year, $60 million deal, something Greg has since debunked), and the two sides remained far apart as a result.
On top of stagnant talks, Moose never obtained an offer sheet from outside organizations as well. Teams around the league believed the Pistons would match anything he was handed, and this led to no one ever placing a bid.
Ultimately, Greg was forced to choose between accepting an extension or just picking up his $5.4 million qualifying offer. Monroe went with the latter, and once he officially signs (he has until October 1st to do so), he will enter 2015 as an unrestricted free agent.
Apr 14, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) dribbles against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Just like Monroe, restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe will have to make a decision. With no other teams offering him a contract out of their understanding Phoenix will match, the point guard will need to choose between accepting the Suns’ current 4 year, $48 million offer or playing through 2014-15 on his $3.7 million qualifying offer.
And – based on Suns’ owner Robert Sarver’s recent comments – while Phoenix is willing to negotiate, it seems the wait for Bledsoe’s choice will drag out even longer.
From Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
“We value Eric as a player,” Sarver said. “I hope at some point we’ll be able to sit down and meet with those guys and make a deal.”
A Comcast SportsNet Northwest report quoted a source who said the Suns’ relationship with Bledsoe “is on the express lane to being ruined.”
ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard reported that the relationship is going in the “wrong direction.”
“Maybe that’s just posturing and negotiating,” Sarver said of the reports. “We haven’t heard from the guy in four months, so I couldn’t tell you. I do know that when he played here, he felt good about the organization, his coaching staff and his teammates at the end of the season. We had the same feelings toward him.”
Wow. Four months without contact with Bledsoe himself. Four months without directly talking to a player who’s future is up in the air. Surely that’s not a good sign in terms of the two sides’ relationship.
Odds are, since Eric believes he’s worth more than Phoenix is giving him, the point guard will go the Gregory route and pick up his available qualifying offer. It might take more time than necessary, but it is highly likely to occur.
So, much like Moose, expect the man once dubbed “mini-LeBron” to hit unrestricted free agency come 2015.
MORE FREE AGENCY NEWS / RUMORS AROUND THE LEAGUE:
May 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion (0) battles for position with San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw (33) during the game in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 113-111. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Shawn Marion: Although he’s not the player of past years, Marion can still contribute on both ends of the floor. His versatility makes him valuable for any club in need of wing depth, and the Indiana Pacers – who just lost Paul George for 2014-15 due to his devastating injury – met with him on Monday for exactly this reason (via Mark Stein of ESPN).
However, while Stein notes the Pacers can offer Marion more money, it is the Cleveland Cavaliers who remain the frontrunners for his services. The 36-year-old forward wants to play for a contender, and at this point, the Cavs are much more prepared for the playoffs than Indy.
Expect Shawn to wind up in Cleveland backing up superstar LeBron James. But of course, anything can happen.
Immediately following reports suggesting Allen would make his choice between playing or retiring in September, news broke proclaiming the 10-time all-star will return for another year. Here is the report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard:
Ray Allen has told people close to him that he will play in the NBA next season instead of retiring, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers are the frontrunner for Allen, the source said the 10-time All-Star has not completely decided where he will play. Cleveland is the favorite due to the return of LeBron James, with whom Allen played with on the Miami Heat the past two seasons.
Allen hasn’t said this himself, so take it with a grain of salt. However, if the all-time three-point leader does indeed come back, one thing is clear: he will sign with a championship contender and chase a third ring. With all he has accomplished in the league, why else would he return?
Should Allen officially announce he’s coming back, it will be interesting to see where he ultimately ends up.
That’s all for now, folks. If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comment section below!