By Ashley Dunkak
AUBURN HILLS (CBS DETROIT) – When Detroit Pistons team president and head coach Stan Van Gundy first accepted the Detroit job in mid-May, he immediately sought out restricted free agent Greg Monroe and began trying to sell him on staying in Detroit. Van Gundy said the conversation between the him, Monroe and Monroe’s agent David Falk is scheduled to continue Tuesday night.
“It’s not a major summit or anything,” Van Gundy said. “It’s not. It’s an ongoing thing. Just on the phone. This has been going since May 15, so it’s just continuing to talk.”
As a restricted free agent, Monroe can either sign a qualifying offer from the Pistons, remaining with the team one more season and entering unrestricted free agency in 2015; sign an offer sheet from another team that would force the Pistons to choose whether to match it or let him walk; or sign a long-term deal with the team. The Pistons could also deal Monroe in a sign-and-trade.
Detroit has fortified its perimeter in recent days with the signings of Jodie Meeks, Caron Butler and D.J. Augustin, all formidable three-pointer shooters who should open up the floor for the Pistons’ front line of Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith.
Van Gundy said he received lots of positive feedback from current Pistons players about the signings of Butler and Augustin, the team’s most recent acquisitions, but has not heard from Monroe regarding those moves.
“I don’t have a great feel from him of what he thinks about what is going on,” Van Gundy said. “He’s well aware of not only who we’ve signed but our reasoning behind all of them, that what we’re trying to do both in terms of on the court, adding shooting around, which gives he and Andre and Josh more room to operate, and also in terms of the kind of people we’re trying to add. I think that that’s important too. I hope all of our guys are recognizing the type of people that we’re trying to add and that we think it’s important to build a team with.”
While Van Gundy said the organization has prepared for all possible outcomes of the Monroe situation, the coach would like to get him long-term and has been working hard to convince him to stay in Detroit.
“We have tried,” Van Gundy said. “[We] tried to make a very strong case for ourselves and for our organization. I think that we’ve tried to make him understand what we’re trying to do and why we think he’s an important part of it, but again, he’s got some decisions to make, too.
“Part of it has to do with us,” Van Gundy continued. “Part of it has to do with his first four years here and everything else, and part of it has to do, I guess, with what he wants in the future, so we don’t have resolution on it right now.”
While Van Gundy wants to hang onto Monroe, he does not feel particularly nervous about how the situation will play out.
“Look, I would like to get him long-term,” Van Gundy said. “That’s what I would like to have happen. I have great respect for him both as a person and as a player, so that’s what we would like to happen. The things I really – if I ever feel a sense of anxiety, it’s usually over things that I have some control over where I’m anxious about me making the right decision. I don’t have that kind of anxiety with Greg’s situation because we’re prepared on every one of those fronts, and the rest of it’s not in my control.”
“We’re ready,” Van Gundy added later. “We hope it goes our way, but if not, we’ll adjust and move on.”