After reporting earlier this week that the San Antonio Spurs were interested in trading for Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio now says that a new team has entered the mix for Monroe’s services — the New York Knicks.
According to Amico’s sources, the Knicks would likely have to involve a third team in order to facilitate any sort of deal for Greg, and a trade may not be able to be completed until December at the earliest. The Knicks likely don’t have any assets that the Bucks would be interested in, which is why a third team would be necessary.
Last offseason, Greg Monroe signed a three-year deal worth $51.4 million with the Bucks. Greg was expected to give the Bucks, a playoff team in 2015, another piece to push towards a serious run in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Unfortunately, Monroe struggled to fit in with the Bucks, and the unit struggled to a 33-49 finish during the 2015-16 season.
Eventually, head coach Jason Kidd moved Monroe and starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams to the bench and moved small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to the point. Greg’s back-to-the-basket style clashed with Kidd’s vision of his new offense and Antetokounmpo’s game. Kidd’s already announced that the Greek star will be his point guard going forward, which is why Monroe has been made readily available.
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Despite the team’s struggles, Greg Monroe still posted respectable numbers at 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, both right around Greg’s career averages. The six-year veteran is still only 26-years-old and has a lot to offer a number of teams who aren’t attempting to transition to the run-and-gun Golden State Warriors’ style of play.
The Knicks, in particular, would be a perfect fit for Monroe, assuming president Phil Jackson can figure out how to offer the Bucks an attractive package for Greg. Jackson traded away his best young player (not named Kristaps Porzingis) in Jerian Grant earlier this summer. Grant went to the Chicago Bulls in the Knicks’ trade for Derrick Rose.
Jackson has suddenly assembled a playoff team in New York by adding Rose, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee to existing stars Carmelo Anthony and Porzingis. Adding someone like Monroe would give new head coach Jeff Hornacek options with his big men. He could do like the Bulls did last year and bring Noah off the bench for a burst of energy and not force him to play starter’s minutes at 31-years-old.
The other option for Hornacek would be to bring Greg Monroe off the bench, which could work since Greg got experience last season doing it with the Bucks. That being said, with Noah’s age and injury history, it would seem to be in everyone’s best interest to let Joakim come off the bench in spurts. That way, it would be easier to manage his time out on the court and save him for the playoffs.
As Amico said in his report, the Knicks will have to get a third team involved to orchestrate any deal for Monroe. Looking at the current roster, unless Milwaukee has an interest in Guillermo Hernangomez, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Kyle O’Quinn, or Marshall Plumlee, there aren’t any other young, tradeable assets to speak of. The Knicks would likely have to involve future draft picks in a deal for Greg, even with a third team involved.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Monroe. The Bucks could very easily get an offer they love from another team tomorrow and deal Greg Monroe in a heartbeat, but it’s finally time to give Phil Jackson some credit for pulling some strings and getting the Knicks back into playoff consideration.
[Photo by Aaron Gash/AP Images]