The Lakers will likely make a strong effort to retain Malik Monk this summer, but they only hold Monk’s Non-Bird rights and would have to dip into their mid-level exception to sign the 24-year-old to a deal worth more than about $2.5MM. Even a deal using the taxpayer mid-level couldn’t start at more than about $6.4MM.
The Lakers’ cap limitations could open the door for another team to sign the former lottery pick, who will be an unrestricted free agent after enjoying a career year in Los Angeles. According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, sources around the league believe Monk could get the equivalent of the full non-taxpayer MLE ($10MM+ per year) on the open market.
One general manager who spoke to Deveney speculated that the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Mavericks will be suitors for Monk this offseason and also singled out the Knicks as a team to keep an eye on.
“The team to watch, if he is going to leave the Lakers, which he obviously should, is the Knicks,” the executive said. “They had interest in him last year, and some of it might depend on what happens with Evan Fournier, do they keep him or move him? But that is a team that needs talent, needs shooters and Monk will be a good value even at the mid-level.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report considers six hypothetical Russell Westbrook trade scenarios and evaluates which of them are the most realistic — and which would appeal most to the Lakers.
- Westbrook exhibited a lack of self awareness during his end-of-season press conference on Monday, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says the point guard doubled down on past excuses and created new ones to absolve himself of responsibility for his disappointing season. “The famous ‘source’ stories that came out about myself, whether it be between me and the staff, me and Frank (Vogel), me and the fans, there’s just so many made-up stories that are not true,” Westbrook said, though he declined to give specific examples. “It’s just always having to fight against that constantly. It’s just not (being) given a fair chance.”
- In a column for The Los Angeles Times, Dylan Hernandez argues that LeBron James also didn’t accept enough responsibility for the Lakers’ struggles in 2021/22. While multiple reports have suggested that James and Anthony Davis played major roles in orchestrating the trade for Westbrook last summer, LeBron downplayed his involvement in roster moves. “Ask me my opinion, I’m going to give my opinion,” he said. “But at the end of the day, they’re going to make the decision that they feel is best for the franchise.”
- Conversely, in his own media exit interview, VP of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka made himself more accountable than he has in the past, though he didn’t look comfortable doing so, writes Bill Oram of The Athletic. Pelinka has two years left on his current contract with the Lakers, sources tell Oram, who says the GM is under significant pressure not to repeat this season’s disaster in 2022/23.