67RIEFNS No. 62: Greg Monroe playing out his daring decision
The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.
Greg Monroe has played hard for four seasons, becoming a bright spot on a Pistons team that had little reason for optimism before he arrived. He scores inside and rebounds, and his on-ball defense has turned out OK.
Finally, after being stuck on his rookie-scale contract, Monroe had a chance to get paid this summer.
And he passed.
Monroe accepted the $$5,479,934 qualifying offer, making him the best restricted free agent to ever go that route.
Here are the top 50 first-round picks since the NBA instituted the rookie scale for first-round picks, sorted by win shares through their first four seasons, with the total value of their next contract.
- Dark blue: Signed extension before fourth season
- Medium blue: Resigned with current team as restricted free agent
- Light blue: Had offer sheet matched
- Red: Signed an unmatched offer sheet
- Green: Signed in Europe
- Black: Signed qualifying offer
Nobody in the top 50 got as little money as Monroe, who ranked No. 38 in win shares during his first four seasons. Only David Lee – who re-signed with the Knicks on a one-year $7 million contract in 2009 so they could keep open money to chase LeBron James the following year – came close.
In fact, stretching the list further, No. 51 Ben Gordon is the only other player in the top 100 to take the qualifying offer.
Players just don’t turn their first big payday, even if they’d prefer to change teams. Monroe is really going out on a limb to take this deal, acceptingn less money this season and less long-term financial security in order to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Like K.J. McDaniels with the 76ers, Monroe could be a trendsetter if this works for him. It’s a big risk, but whether Monroe alters the climate of player-team negotiations for restricted free agents will depend a lot on how well his season goes.