The New York Knicks have nothing better to do than to plan for the future, and that includes setting their sights on Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons, who becomes a free agent at the end of this season.
The New York Daily News are reporting that it’s pretty much a done deal, although that would be tampering; hence illegal in the NBA world. What’s actually happening? The Knicks are letting Monroe’s representatives (agents…) know that they’re into him. It’s that simple and everyone knows it’s happening. Jackson doesn’t even have to call anyone up. He can do it all through the media.
Monroe hasn’t been anything different compared to his first four years in the league. A solid scorer down low, an improving rebounder but pretty bad defender. He’s averaging 16.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, both career highs on slightly less minutes. He’s a big man, and he’s going to get paid, and the Knicks are probably going to pay him more than anyone else.
The Pistons had the chance to sign Monroe on a long term deal last season, when he was a restricted free agent, but Monroe and the team never came to terms on a long term extension, instead signing a one year deal which turns him into a free agent. The Pistons will try and keep him, but not at any price, and it’s more likely that he’ll be playing somewhere else next season.
The thing about Monroe is that no one actually tried to sign him away from the Pistons, knowing he was trying to get a max deal coming his way. The Phoenix Suns were in a similar situation with Eric Bledsoe and eventually came to terms on a five-year, $70 million deal. The Pistons got no trade partners to dump Monroe on, and might lose him for nothing.
The interesting thing about Monroe in this free agency and other NBA players is the whole salary cap of 2016. The NBA is going to try and fight the players on the huge pay rise coming their way, but right now everyone knows a huge amount of money is going to be coming on from the media deals, and the salary cap might jump to something around $90 million. This means a lot of players in 2015 will be looking to sign shorter deals and not get paid under the market price for the rest of their contracts.