The NBA trade rumors suggest a homecoming for Greg Monroe.
The Milwaukee Bucks center reportedly wants to get out of the contract he signed last offseason, with the team potentially working on a deal to send him back to his hometown of New Orleans. If true, it would top off a year of unlikely moves for the former Detroit Pistons big man.
As a free agent last summer, Monroe had a chance to move to the Los Angeles Lakers but made the somewhat surprising decision to jump to the Milwaukee Bucks with a max contract. It was a surprise to many who believed Monroe would chase a bigger franchise with a better chance of making the playoffs within the next few years.
As Sports Illustrated noted at the time, few people predicted that the big-name free agent would turn down some much bigger franchises and choose to play in playoff-starved Milwaukee.
“Fortunately, Monroe surveyed this summer’s free-agent market, met with four teams, and identified the one both closest to contention and best for his long-term needs: the Milwaukee Bucks. According to Yahoo! Sports, Monroe agreed to terms on Thursday to a three-year max deal, the final season of which is a player option. Reports differ as to what Monroe was offered by which teams, though the final verdict is clear: A big-name, big-money free agent shrugged off New York and Los Angeles to sign with an up-and-coming team in Milwaukee.”
Those predictions may have come true, just one year later. After the Bucks stumbled to a 33-49 record, there are rumors that Greg Monroe wants out of Milwaukee and could be trying to force a trade. Monroe himself was one of the few bright points for the Bucks, averaging 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists on 52.2 percent shooting from the floor, production that could make him an attractive target for a number of teams.
ESPN’s Marc Stein noted on Zach Lowe’s podcast that the Milwaukee Bucks have been shopping Monroe around and appeared to be making progress with the New Orleans Pelicans. There are no details available for the potential deal, and it’s not clear just how close the two teams might be to making it happen.
It would seem a good fit, as Greg Monroe is a native of New Orleans and is reportedly interested in going back home. But there may be a greater difficulty for the Milwaukee Bucks in unloading Greg Monroe. In the past two seasons, the NBA has seen a sharp move away from the kind of big, low-post anchoring center that Monroe represents, with teams instead moving to smaller and faster lineups like the one employed by the Golden State Warriors to great success.
That was seen quite clearly in Cleveland, where Timofey Mozgov went from a key part of the lineup one season to a major liability the next. Mozgov is less mobile on defense, and was particularly incapable when paired with Kevin Love, prompting the Cavs to phase him out of the lineup. The full impact of Mozgov on the team can be seen in this infographic created by SB Nation.
In a chat column on ESPN, Kevin Pelton wrote that the changing NBA landscape may mean the Bucks won’t find a trade for Greg Monroe.
“Bold prediction: I think the Bucks will end up buying out Monroe because I don’t think there’s any trade market for him at all, at least not without them taking back bad salary. I keep saying this: nobody needs centers.”
So, while the NBA trade rumors surrounding Greg Monroe may not end up coming to fruition, there’s still a good chance he ends up on a new team next season.
[Photo by Aaron Gash/AP Images]