Less than two weeks after the Toronto Raptors essentially overhauled their core lineup by acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for DeMar DeRozan and reserve center Jakob Poeltl, the team appears to be taking another step to boost their prospects in the 2018-19 NBA season. According to a new report from TSN, the Raptors are planning to acquire free agent center/forward Greg Monroe and give him a reserve role on the team.
As noted by TSN, the Toronto Raptors currently have 13 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts, and with their 14th spot on the roster still empty, the team is looking at several possible free agent signings, with Monroe among the top candidates to join the team, per unnamed league sources. Currently, Monroe is one of the more prominent unsigned free agents, and while TSN wrote that his subpar interior defense might be an issue for Toronto, the 28-year-old big man could help as an “experienced and gifted scorer” who could add depth off the bench.
Greg Monroe played his first five NBA seasons in Detroit, where he was a regular starter at power forward and center after being drafted seventh overall in 2010, according to his Basketball-Reference player page. He then transitioned to a backup role after signing with the Milwaukee Bucks as a free agent in 2015 and most recently spent the 2017-18 season with three teams — the Bucks, the Phoenix Suns, and the Boston Celtics. In 51 games last season, Monroe averaged 10.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
If the Toronto Raptors don’t end up signing Greg Monroe, TSN wrote that new head coach Nick Nurse has a couple other alternatives as potential backups to center Jonas Valanciunas and power forward Serge Ibaka. Lucas Nogueira, who entered unrestricted free agency after four seasons with the Raptors, could be re-signed, though TSN hinted that the chances of that happening are currently slim. Recent signing Chris Boucher, a Montreal native who played one game for the Golden State Warriors in 2017-18, was also mentioned as a potential source of frontcourt depth, and someone who might “get a real look” in training camp.
As the Toronto Raptors’ new-look lineup still has a lot of moving parts at the moment, TSN wrote that Nurse will likely experiment with his rotations in the first few months of the 2018-19 NBA season, and see which lineups work best against certain opponents. As such, it’s still far from sure if the Raptors will indeed add some veteran help in the middle by signing Greg Monroe, and if he does join the team, TSN predicted that “things can, and likely will change” as the upcoming season progresses.