With their options in free agency limited thanks to the Russell Westbrook trade, the Los Angeles Lakers filled out their roster with a number of players on one-year minimum contracts. Among all of those deals, none impressed as much as fifth-year guard Malik Monk did this season.
Monk ranked fourth on the Lakers in scoring with 13.4 points per game, a career-high. Additionally, Monk is averaging career-highs in rebounds, assists, steals and field goal percentage in his first season in purple and gold, while being one of the only constants in a Lakers season filled with injuries, changing lineups and rotations.
The young guard has undoubtedly played his way into a contract worth much more than the minimum, but exactly how much is unclear. But according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Monk may have priced himself out of the range the Lakers are able to pay him this summer:
Expectations among league personnel polled by B/R for Monk’s next salary are quite varied but have ranged from an average annual value between $5 million and $10 million, far above the minimum number that the Lakers were able to sign him for this season.
It’s no secret that the Lakers would like to keep Monk, but unless they are able to make some moves and clear out some cap room, their hands may be tied.
Because the team is over the cap, the most the Lakers can offer Monk would be the taxpayer mid-level exception worth around $6.3 million. But Monk is likely to receive offers worth much more than that if Fischer’s report is accurate, which means he would likely be taking a discount if he wanted to remain in Los Angeles.
Whether or not Monk would be willing to do so is unclear, but no one could fault him for taking a much bigger deal after the career year he has put forth. If the Lakers could figure out a way to get under the salary cap they would then have more money to offer Monk, but that seems highly unlikely as that would require the team to move Russell Westbrook’s contract while taking little to no money back in the deal.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, it is a very real possibility that Monk will be finishing out his one and only season with the franchise this week.
Rob Pelinka hopeful Malik Monk is part of Lakers’ future
Rob Pelinka realizes that the Lakers have a potential piece of their present and future in Monk, who is still only 24 years old.
Pelinka recently discussed Monk, saying that he believes the partnership between he and the Lakers has been beneficial for both and that he sees Monk as part of the team’s future. But if the franchise wants to keep him around, it will likely take some other moves being made to open up the necessary room.
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