While the Los Angeles Lakers have not ruled out the possibility of re-signing Brook Lopez, rumors abound that the veteran big man could be on his way out of L.A. this coming offseason. The Lakers reportedly aim to stay financially flexible at least until next summer’s free agency, and so offering Lopez an acceptable deal would be dependent on whether the team would successfully get their desired two max salary players in July.
If the Lakers’ plans of signing LeBron James and Paul George push through, then Lopez is more likely to move to another team next season, leaving behind a huge void at the center position. LA Sports Hub’s Jason Reed suggested three players who could potentially replace Lopez, and one of them is current Boston Celtics big man Greg Monroe.
The 27-year-old Monroe has recently bounced around the league as he is currently playing for his third team in the last 12 months. He was traded by the Milwaukee Bucks to Phoenix in November of last year before the Suns waived him in February. The Celtics picked him up in the buyout market at the trade deadline and Monroe went on to suit up for Boston for the remainder of the regular season up to this year’s playoffs.
Monroe is set to become an unrestricted free agent this July after his new $5 million contract with the Celtics expires. He ended up with decent averages of 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals in only 19.1 minutes per game in 26 games for Boston in the recently concluded regular season.
Reed noted that Monroe would be a good substitute for Lopez as he “adds much-needed size, rebounding, and at least some form of rim protection” for the thin Lakers frontline. Moreover, his overall experience as a professional basketball player and veteran on-court savvy could also help L.A.’s young big men, such as Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant, in the long run.
Monroe has long been a target of the Lakers since the 2015-2016 season. Los Angeles reportedly offered him a substantial amount of money during the summer of 2015, but the former Georgetown standout chose the Bucks instead, signing a three-year, $50 million contract at that time.
Monroe only played 10 minutes, scoring one point and hauling down three boards, for the Celtics during their 113-107 Game 1 overtime win versus the Bucks on Sunday. It remains to be seen whether Brad Stevens and company will retain him in the lineup next season.