NBA rumors continue to fly during the summer, as free agency at a high level has ended and the NBA summer league is almost over. Teams have now moved on to trade talk, with Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay and Milwaukee Bucks big man Greg Monroe dominating the headlines.
Monroe recently became more expendable than ever for Milwaukee, who drafted Thon Maker in the 2016 NBA Draft and then re-signed center Miles Plumlee.
In the wake of Milwaukee’s re-signing of Miles Plumlee, league sources say that Bucks center Greg Monroe remains available via trade
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 19, 2016
Monroe looked like a poor fit last year in his first season in Mil-town, as he offered solid offense and rebounding, but failed on the defensive end. His inability to defend at a high level has made him rather expendable for a team that doesn’t appear to need his offensive ability in the post.
The fact that the Bucks want to move Moose so badly could expedite a trade, while the San Antonio Spurs have already been linked as a potential suitor. Let’s take a look at the Greg Monroe to Spurs talk as well as his other top potential suitors as we try to nail down his next team for the upcoming 2016-17 NBA season:
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs, believe it or not, are the only team officially tied to Moose at the moment. The connection isn’t crazy, either, even though the team has added serious beef the last two years with huge signings in LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.
— Bucks Nation (@MKEBucksNation) July 19, 2016
That still doesn’t replace the loss of some muscle, as Tim Duncan retired, David West and Boban Marjanovic fled in free agency and Boris Diaw got dealt to the Jazz. Just like that, the Spurs lack depth down low. Moose probably wouldn’t have a shot at starting with such a stacked unit, but he’d be a useful big off the bench.
San Antonio would reportedly need a third team to step up to help facilitate any deal, but this could be a huge get for them. They’d be able to mask Monroe’s defensive deficiencies behind Gasol and Ridge, yet utilize his solid offense down low in the second unit. A deal is far from done, but it’s clear the Spurs are the leading contender to pull off a trade with the Bucks at the moment.
Los Angeles Lakers
If Moose wants to win, he probably wouldn’t mind a trade to San Antonio. However, it’s arguable the Spurs (and that third team yet to be known) wouldn’t give the Bucks the best deal.
A better deal (and role for Moose) could reside elsewhere, which is why there have long been ties between Greg Monroe and the Los Angeles Lakers. An odd signing of center Timofey Mozgov makes his addition a little less likely, but he could still take over the four spot, where the Lakers have been tested out both Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle.
The smart thing for the Lakers to do would be to stand firm and keep grooming those two talents, but if they want to get better quickly, adding Moose and playing Randle off the bench may be the better play. After all, Mozgov can help mask Moose’s defensive issues down low, yet they could still get solid offense and rebounding out of him at the four spot.
It might not be a perfect marriage, but there have been Greg Monroe to Lakers rumors before and they seem relevant again with him on the trading block.
Again, the Spurs are the only team to be named as an interested franchise yet, so we’re just speculating here. However, Miami could make a ton of sense, as they try to rebuild and remain competitive on the fly.
They could very well be preparing to cut ties with power forward Chris Bosh and already did just that when they let Dwyane Wade sign with the Bulls. Even if Bosh is healthy enough to play (blood clots), they could see about cutting his bloated contract up or moving him.
If they can do that, the door could be opened to landing Moose, who could start at the four or come off the bench behind Bosh (if he’s healthy and stays). Miami doesn’t currently have the cap room to handle such a trade, but like the Spurs, could potentially find a third team to help make something happen.
Miami’s actual interest isn’t clear, but landing Moose would secure any concerns about Bosh and if Bosh returns to full strength, it’d give them a solid guy for their second unit.
New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans is another option, as the Pelicans have to be ready to move on from Omer Asik and with Moose in town, could rotate him and Anthony Davis as they please at the four and five spots.
The Pelicans don’t really need extra offense, but this is a situation where Moose certainly provides the rebounding Asik would, but is a far more polished offensive option. They’d lose defense with the swap, but The Brow could aid in masking Monroe’s defensive problems.
It’s worth wondering if this is a move that could actually stunt Davis’ growth, but it’s tough to argue against improving the Pellies’ starting five. Their defense would take a hit, but overall trading for Greg Monroe does make New Orleans a little better.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is another team we need to consider in the Greg Monroe sweepstakes, as they tried hard to sign Pau Gasol this summer. That shows us they may not have complete faith in Mason Plumlee at the five, and/or don’t love the idea of going small forever at power forward.
Moose would at the very worst give them a suitable big to pair with Plumlee, or he’d give them a mild upgrade at center. That would mean extra size and offense down low, while it would also free up the Blazers’ versatility with the rest of their lineup. The likes of Al-Farouq Amini, Meyers Leonard, Moe Harkless, Noah Vonleh, Ed Davis and the recently signed Festus Ezeli could all form a pretty formidable second unit.
It still remains to be determined who steps up and tries to finalize a trade for Greg Monroe, but all five of these teams feel like realistic options. Think it’s for sure the Spurs? Think someone else jumps into the Greg Monroe trade rumor discussion? Tell us what you think in the comments below!