Last summer, Greg Monroe surprised everyone with his decision in free agency. Despite being courted by a number of teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Monroe chose not to go to big market like many players of his caliber have done in the past but rather sign with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although it was a surprising move by Monroe and one that could’ve potentially helped the Bucks take a step in the right direction, it appears as though Monroe’s stay in Milwaukee could be short lived. Monroe reportedly wants out of Milwaukee with his sights possibly set on New Orleans.
The Bucks are still looking to find a taker for Greg Monroe and it sounds like they’ve spoken to the Pelicans about him this offseason. “I think [the Bucks] got closer than maybe has been reported with New Orleans during either the draft or free agency,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said during today’s episode of The Lowe Post podcast (54:25 mark for the relevant portion). “Monroe’s a New Orleans native,” ESPN’s Marc Stein added. “I think that’s where he wants to end up.”
Unfortunately for the Bucks, Monroe’s presence in Milwaukee didn’t turn out to be a game-changer for Jason Kidd and company. The Bucks finished 12th in the Eastern Conference last season with a record of 33-49. Milwaukee had shown promise the previous season but appears to have taken a step back.
Despite the Bucks’ poor performance during the 2015-16 NBA season, Monroe had another solid year. The 26-year-old center remained consistent averaging 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor.
Regarding Monroe’s desire to play for his hometown New Orleans Pelicans, it’ll be interesting to see whether a deal can get done. New Orleans already has a rather stacked frontcourt with the face of the franchise in forward Anthony Davis along with centers Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca. A deal was talked about leading up to the NBA trade deadline last February, but the two teams couldn’t agree to terms.
Asik is set to make $9.9 million next season meaning he could be the center traded to Milwaukee to help make the deal work along with one or two other players. Monroe is set to make a team-high $17.1 million next season with a player option for 2017-18 worth $17.9 million.
As for the Lakers, it’s highly unlikely the team would try to make a deal for Monroe. The veteran isn’t an ideal fit in the system Luke Walton will be implementing and the team seems to be set in the frontcourt. Los Angeles is likely to run with a frontcourt consisting of Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Tarik Black, rookie Ivica Zubac and newcomer Timofey Mozgov.