David Zalubowski/Associated Press
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning that Greg Monroe intends to sign with the Boston Celtics once he clears waivers on Saturday. The agreement is a one-year deal worth $5 million.
Monroe has had an up-and-down season thus far, spending time with the Milwaukee Bucks and most recently, the Phoenix Suns. Across 25 court appearances, he has posted averages of 10.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. The Suns agreed to a buyout with Monroe on Feb. 1 after he fell out of the regular rotation as the Suns looked to play some of their younger bigs.
Monroe’s decision came down to deciding between the Celtics and the New Orleans Pelicans. In the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending injury, the Pelicans were eager to make a move to acquire talent to fill that gap via trade. Yesterday, the Pelicans agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bulls that would send Omer Asik, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen and draft picks for Nikola Mirotic and a pick. The Pelicans cleared roster space with the hopes that they would be able to sign Monroe as well.
Despite the Pelicans’ enticing pitch, which included offering Monroe the chance at the starting center position and the opportunity to play near his hometown, New Orleans could only muster up $2.2 million in a deal for Monroe. Monroe’s desire to play for a contender and receive a more lucrative deal were the driving forces that ultimately dictated his final decision.
It will now be interesting to see how Brad Stevens will integrate Monroe into the Celtics offense. Boston made no promises about playing time when signing Monroe but it is likely he’ll join Marcus Morris as another big off the bench to provide a scoring punch.
While Aron Baynes has served as the starting center for Boston for most of the year, it is unclear if that will remain the same or if Monroe will supplant Baynes in that role.
Monroe possesses an old-school big man mentality. He was able to demonstrate that effectiveness during his time in Detroit but struggled to find his niche while playing for the Bucks. If Monroe can get back to his roots he has the potential to be a very valuable offensive asset on the Celtics’ second unit.
Despite Kyrie Irving being held out of the last few contests due to a quad injury, Boston is still the top team in the Eastern Conference with a 37-15 record. The Monroe signing should further cement their position in the East as they look to make a run at knocking off the Golden State Warriors in the finals.