Another major player in this free agency is off the market, as the Milwaukee Bucks manage to beat the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers to Greg Monroe after five seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
Monroe signed a three-year deal worth $49.4 million with the Bucks (maximum contract, player option on third year) after not being happy with how he was treated in Detroit, not really giving the team a chance to re-sign him. On the other hand, they never intended to, pretty much making it clear with their behavior towards him since last year’s free agency, in which Monroe, looking to be re-signed on a max deal, ended up signing the qualifying offer.
How did the Bucks beat out the Knicks, who looked favorites to land the big man, Lakers and even the Blazers? According to Howard Beck, Monroe was convinced the Bucks were the team with the most potential to succeed in the postseason. He was offered the max by all four teams but with the unclear situation in Portland, the awfulness of the Knicks and the similar feeling towards Kobe’s Lakers, the Bucks turned out to be the best option out there.
Monroe, the 7th overall pick in the 2010 draft, coming out of Georgetown, averaged 14.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in his five seasons with the Pistons. He had to play a lot of power forward since Andre Drummond rose to prominence in the lineup, which isn’t Monroe’s best position, needing a bit more freedom and space in the paint to operate. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season, and his defensive problems might be masked by the excellent defense the Bucks usually show.