If the Los Angeles Lakers don’t end up pursuing Carmelo Anthony this summer, it looks as if they could go after Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe.
According to Sean Deveney from Sporting News, newly appointed Pistons president and head coach Stan Van Gundy is not expected to retain the services of Monroe. Instead, Van Gundy intends to build around center Andre Drummond, Deveney writes.
It was always a long shot that the Pistons would re-sign Monroe this summer, who is set to become a restricted free agent, though SVG’s arrival has seemingly given the 23-year-old the kiss of death.
And, as with almost every big (or semi-big) name free agent this summer, the Lakers are linked to Monroe.
Deveney claims that the Lakers, along with the Charlotte Bobcats, “are the team most frequently mentioned among league executives when it comes to Monroe,” and are planning to make a move for the big man if they don’t pursue Anthony or pull off any big moves on draft night.
However, it’s worth noting that Monroe, who averaged 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 32.8 minutes per game this season, is expected to garner max contract-type offers this summer, and that’s where the Lakers would likely have a tough decision to make.
In order for the purple and gold to reserve enough cap room to sign Kevin Love in the summer of 2015, they can only spend around $10 million or so this summer, whereas the first year of a max deal for Monroe would likely start in the $14-15 million range.
While it’s always possible that the Lakers could decide to go in a different direction, making Love the team’s number one priority right now definitely seems to be the smartest move.