During the 2015 offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks seemingly made a major splash by signing free agent center Greg Monroe to a three-year $51.4 million contract. Although Monroe did finish right around his career averages with 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, but he never really gelled with the other starters, which led to head coach Jason Kidd benching him in favor of Miles Plumlee.
Kidd has already alluded to the fact that he plans on Plumlee being his starting center to begin the season, as the Bucks gave the restricted free agent a four-year $52 million deal in the offseason. That decision has seemingly placed Monroe squarely on the trade block heading into the 2016-17 NBA Season.
Over the last few weeks, trade rumors have connected Monroe’s name with the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers. But the most recent rumor might be the one that makes the most sense, as the Charlotte Hornets have reportedly contacted the Bucks about a potential trade for Monroe.
According to FanSided, the Hornets are interested in dealing Jeremy Lamb and Spencer Hawes for Greg Monroe. Charlotte was looking to deal Lamb prior to free agency starting in order to make room to re-sign other payers. The Hornets also tried to move Spencer Hawes’ contract from their books this summer as well, but the team never found a willing trade partner for either player.
Charlotte Hornets Rumors: Team Discussed a Trade For Greg Monroe Involving Spencer Hawes and Jeremy Lamb. https://t.co/tVvxHct4x1
— Swarm and Sting (@SwarmnSting) October 2, 2016
Adding Monroe would give the Charlotte Hornets a much-needed offensive upgrade. Charlotte’s projected starting lineup features Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, and Cody Zeller. There’s a possibility that Roy Hibbert could beat out Zeller for the starting center position, but the other four spots are basically set.
That’s truly an athletic and great defensive lineup, but where’s the scoring going to come from? Walker and Batum are the only remaining players to have averaged double-figures for the Hornets last season. Frank Kaminsky should contribute more, and Marco Belinelli will add some much-needed shooting, but there’s still a lack of scoring on this team.
If this trade were to happen, Monroe would likely enter the starting lineup for Zeller, which would certainly give the Hornets more of a potent punch on the interior. The team still won’t be able to score with the likes of the Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers, but it should be enough of an upgrade to put the Hornets back in the playoffs.
— Eric Johnson (@EJTotalZone) October 2, 2016
As for the Bucks side of this potential trade, it wouldn’t be surprising if Milwaukee waived Hawes upon acquiring him. The team already has Plumlee, John Henson and Thon Maker who can all play center and Hawes doesn’t really fit Kidd’s mold for his starting center. He’d rather have defense and rebounding as opposed to a stretch-five that plays on the perimeter.
The centerpiece of this deal for Milwaukee would be Lamb. Following the devastating news that starting shooting guard Khris Middleton would miss the entire season after surgery on a torn hamstring, the Bucks are desperately searching for some depth on the wing. Lamb is only 24 years old and averaged 18.6 minutes in 66 games for the Hornets last season while scoring 8.8 points per game.
Jeremy can shoot it a little bit, but his length at the two-guard would be a tremendous service to the Bucks, who currently only have Rashad Vaughn and Malcolm Brogdon to play the position. Currently, Kidd plans on starting Vaughn for the foreseeable future, but adding a player like Lamb could eventually alter those plans.
Who knows? Maybe this potential deal is nothing more than a rumor, but the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets would benefit from this trade.
[Featured Image by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images]