Pistons owner Tom Gores touched on a number of team and league subjects in a recent press interview. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press has published the complete transcription, and here are some of the highlights:
The No. 1 topic that has dominated the entire off-season has been Greg Monroe. What are your thoughts on the contract impasse?
“We think Greg is a great player. First of all, he’s done a really great job of establishing himself as a player in Detroit. He’s shown great respect to the city and as a young man he’s really done everything we could ask of him. With Greg we just believe in him. I’d like Greg to really get excited about being in Detroit because he deserves it. He’s really been good to the city. You’ve seen him. He’s good to the city. Stan is going to have to figure out exactly everybody’s role, but we’re believers in Greg Monroe. He’s not just a great player; he also has a good basketball character. I know it’s been a lot of the off-season stuff, but I’m a believer in Greg Monroe.”
There’s a pretty substantial offer on the table (slightly better on a per-year basis than the four-year, $54-million deal Josh Smith signed last summer). Is there any disappointment that it hasn’t resolved itself and he [Monroe] hasn’t taken the offer yet?
“Of course we would like him to do that, but the fact is Greg has to decide what’s exactly right for him and he has great people representing him. We’d like Greg to get on board, but he’s got time to think about it and we should give him that time.”
It’s been a newsy summer from a league perspective and the most recent thing would be the catastrophic injury suffered by Pacers small forward Paul George at USA Basketball camp. You have Andre Drummond and he’s moving on to Chicago to continue tryouts with Team USA. Does George’s injury give you pause?
“It’s always difficult in this kind of situation. As a Detroit Pistons owner you get worried, but at the same time there’s such a valuable experience that comes out of them being together as players, camaraderie for the country, camaraderie for themselves, a different purpose. I think there is a part of it that’s great for the players because it’s just winning for your team. There’s something bigger at stake and they’re not doing it for their contract or this or that. I’m not torn on it. The upside is for the players. Is their downside for teams? That’s possible. As just a business owner? It’s very possible, but at the same time you can take a guy like Andre Drummond who has the ability to have this experience with all these different guys who are going to play for their country and are really superstars, how would I ever take that away from him? At the end of the day, I think the guy should have the experience.”
The [Pistons’] free-agent signings were targeted to address needs but lacked sizzle. Do you in hindsight wish this would have been the approach last summer when you made the splash of signing Josh Smith?
“Everybody has a different approach. One of things that I’ve really enjoyed about what Stan is doing is he’s connecting the floor to the front office, so everything he’s doing is about the way he’s going to coach it and the way he’s going to run this team and the way he’s going to move this franchise forward. He knows exactly what he’s doing. I have personally seen Stan be an executive. He has the ability to do both things. I know a lot of people question this, but I can tell you I’ve seen him in action. We all know he’s a great coach, but he’s a great executive. He’s a great leader. He’s very strategic.”