Greg Monroe signs qualifying offer with Pistons

Greg Monroe has officially signed his qualifying offer with the Pistons, meaning his career in Detroit will almost certainly end after the 2014-15 season.

Because Monroe is a restricted free agent and wasn’t able to reach an agreement with the team on an extension or a sign-and-trade deal, his remaining option was one rarely used. By signing the qualifying offer for just over $5 million — close to $10 million less than he would have gotten on the open market — Monroe guarantees himself unrestricted free agency next summer, and can not be traded this season without his approval.

The strategy was last used by Ben Gordon to escape Chicago, and he eventually signed a big-money contract with the Pistons.

Detroit will still have a chance to sign Monroe next summer, but will not be able to offer him more money than any other franchise. Given the fact that he’s taking a major pay cut and risking an injury that ruins his market value for a guaranteed chance to leave, a return seems highly unlikely.

"I have said from day one that we have great respect for Greg as a person and like what he brings to this team as a player," Pistons coach/president Stan Van Gundy said in a statement.  "We have had good dialogue with Greg throughout the offseason with the understanding that there were multiple options for both parties involved, and we respect his decision.  We look forward to a great year from Greg as we continue to build our team moving forward."