Latest On Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe

Greg Monroe is “definitely” willing to take his nearly $5.48MM qualifying offer from the Pistons should it come to that, a source tells Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. He’s pursued sign-and-trade opportunities rather than offer sheets from other teams, the source also says to Goodwill. A sign-and-trade that would be amenable to all parties would dismiss the possibility that the Pistons would match a deal he inks with another team, and signing the qualifying offer would take Monroe to unrestricted free agency next summer.

Still, accepting the qualifying offer would be a drastic move. It would represent a steep one-year discount from the eight-figure salaries, perhaps in excess of $13.5MM, that Monroe would receive if he were to ink a long-term deal with the Pistons. The maneuver might backfire should Monroe become injured, but the 24-year-old has missed just one of his last 310 games, as Goodwill points out. Only 17 players have signed qualifying offers since rookie scale contracts came into being in the mid-1990s, and the most high-profile player to have done so was probably Ben Gordon, who took Chicago’s qualifying offer in 2008.

Goodwill’s source disputed the notion that he’s uninterested in returning to the Pistons, saying that the big man likes coach/executive Stan Van Gundy while cautioning that Monroe remains skeptical of Van Gundy’s vision for the team. The state of the relationship between Monroe and Bledsoe doesn’t sound quite as dire as the situation involving the Suns and Eric Bledsoe, as multiple reports have indicated that the point guard is souring on Phoenix.

“Maybe that’s just posturing and negotiating,” Suns owner Sarver said of the reports, in an interview with Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. “We haven’t heard from the guy in four months, so I couldn’t tell you. I do know that when he played here, he felt good about the organization, his coaching staff and his teammates at the end of the season. We had the same feelings toward him.”

The Suns reportedly extended a four-year, $48MM offer to Bledsoe, who appears to be holding out for the max, which would come to $84,789,500 over five seasons. Agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who represents Bledsoe, is also the rep for Kevin Seraphin, the most recent player to have signed a qualifying offer, having done so last month. Seraphin was nonetheless in a drastically different position, since he couldn’t have commanded much more.

Bledsoe, like Monroe, stands to forfeit a significant amount of his earnings for the coming season if he inks his qualifying offer of nearly $3.727MM. The guard missed significant time with a meniscus tear, so injury is ostensibly a greater concern than it would be for Monroe. The qualifying offer would be a sacrifice for either Bledsoe or Monroe, and while either of them could make up the money over the life of a long-term max deal if he were to wind up with one in unrestricted free agency next summer, that sort of deal is certainly no guarantee.

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