Pistons' Monroe potential 2015 target for Celtics

Pistons' Monroe potential 2015 target for Celtics
August 18, 2014, 1:45 pm

BOSTON - When you look at the most significant deals made by Danny Ainge in shaping this storied franchise, circumstances, as much as the Celtics mystique, worked in his favor.

The Seattle SuperSonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) were in salary-dump mode in 2007, which allowed the Celtics to pull off a draft-night trade for Ray Allen.

Kevin Garnett spent more than a decade in Minnesota before it was clear to him and the Timberwolves that both needed a change.

Allen and Garnett became Celtics and the team's league-best 17th NBA title came a few months later.

The way things fell into place then, may very well be repeating itself with Detroit's Greg Monroe.

The Pistons have been saying the right things all summer, like being prepared for any and all scenarios with Monroe, who they have repeatedly said is their top offseason priority.

That in all likelihood may have scared off some teams from putting forth an offer sheet for the restricted free agent.

Still, the longer this plays out, the less leverage Detroit has in retaining him long-term.

That would especially be true if, as reported by USA Today, Monroe has agreed to sign Detroit's qualifying offer of $5.479 million for this season.

In doing so, Monroe can't be traded without his consent and more significant, he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015.

That is great news for the Celtics, a franchise that for decades has failed repeatedly to land premier free agents aside from the re-signing their own.

Monroe signing a qualifying offer with the Pistons creates realistic hope that next summer, Boston will at the very least be on his short list of teams to consider considering their need and the fact they will have significant salary cap space.

The appeal for both the player (Monroe) and the franchise is undeniable.

Watching him try to mesh with Andre Drummond and Josh Smith last season in Detroit, it was clear that a change of scenery - and some new teammates - would do Monroe a world of good.

Even as Detroit struggled, Monroe still averaged a respectable 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Questions about his game defensively are legit, but some of his struggles had to be attributed to player-combinations on the floor that simply did not work which was evident by Detroit being a bottom-10 team defensively.

Even with all the additions Boston made this summer, which includes 7-foot Tyler Zeller, the Celtics still could use a big man such as Monroe.

He immediately becomes their most polished center offensively, which would open up more driving lanes for Boston's bevy of perimeter players.

In terms of how he would fit in to the Celtics culture, that would be the least of Boston's concerns.

And remember, his agent is David Falk, who already has a trio of clients (Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner) on the Celtics roster.

That in itself won't get a deal done, but there is a tremendous amount of respect between Falk and the Celtics ,which has a way of making negotiations go a lot smoother.

And that would once again provide the Celtics with a key addition to the roster that came about as much because of circumstances, as the mystique that is Boston Celtics basketball.