Much of the focus heading into the free agency period for the Los Angeles Lakers is on current Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and whether or not he will be in purple and gold next season. But the Lakers do have some of their own free agents that they could try to re-sign and chief among them is guard Malik Monk.
Monk had a career year last season with the Lakers, becoming one of the team’s most consistent players with his ability to create offense for himself and others. But the Lakers are limited in what they could offer Monk as the most they could do is the taxpayer mid-level exception worth $6 million.
As an unrestricted free agent, Monk will likely command much more than that on the open market. But in an interview with Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Monk admitted that he would be willing to take less money in order to remain with the Lakers:
“They might not be able to pay me as much as I want,” Monk said. “But I could be here and be way more comfortable as a Laker than going to any other team and they’re paying me $5 million more. So it’s just me trying to figure out what team would really want me.”
Monk truly came into his own with the Lakers last season, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and field goal percentage. He was a great compliment to both LeBron James and Anthony Davis and provides a knockdown shooter and scorer around the Lakers’ stars.
But while Monk is open to the idea of remaining with the Lakers, he is not ruling anything out in regards to free agency and plans to evaluate all possibilities:
“I definitely would still want to evaluate things,” Monk said. “You never know what happens. Some other team could come in and hopefully tell me the same thing and maybe I get a little bit more minutes on that team. So it’s just actually me being presented and being able to go out there and do what I do is a priority.
“That’s the biggest priority: A team that’s just going to let me come in and be myself.”
Monk was able to be himself with the Lakers last season and he would love to continue that if everything lines up. One main factor that could play a big role in whether Monk remains is the ongoing Irving saga and whether he opts in to his contract and gets traded to Los Angeles.
If Irving does choose to opt out of his deal, as is being rumored, and he signs with the Lakers for that taxpayer mid-level exception, that takes that option away from Monk, leaving just the minimum which might be too much to ask.
Surely the interest for Monk to be a Laker next season is mutual, but it will simply be a matter of everything lining up to keep last season’s most pleasant surprise in purple and gold.
Irving could be willing to sign taxpayer mid-level exception with Lakers
Every year going into free agency there seems to be one big domino that must fall before everything else begins setting into place and this season the Irving saga seems to be that thing.
Irving forcing a trade to the Lakers seems to be the main possibility, but he apparently could be willing to take far less money.
Latest reports suggest that Irving could be willing to opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent, and then sign the taxpayer mid-level exception with the Lakers for $6 million.
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