Nothing went right for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, which is exactly why they’re all watching the post-season from the comfort of their own homes.
But, just because the season didn’t go to plan, doesn’t mean the off-season can’t be better, and it all starts with making the right additions in free agency. Before you go shopping though, you need to take stock of what you’ve already got in the cupboard.
Enter Malik Monk, 24, who was one of the Lakers’ most consistent performers throughout their turbulent season, but will be entering the free-agent market at the end of the season. Despite the need for new blood, the Lakers’ front office should be very interested in retaining the breakout guard beyond the current season – if they can agree on a contract.
According to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, Monk is likely to stay in Los Angeles, assuming he doesn’t get an astronomical offer from elsewhere, “If someone wants to shower Monk with cash this summer, that probably outweighs any sentimental vibes the Lakers have built up. But if the money isn’t that much more than L.A. can offer (the mid-level exception), his familiarity with and comfort in the system could keep him around.”
Monk Wants to Stay With The Lakers
Speaking to the media for his exit interview, Monk reiterated his desire to remain in Los Angeles, should the team have a mutual interest in his services. Of course, most teams would want to retain a player who shot 47.3% from the field and 39.1% from deep from the bench.
“It’s really me being comfortable, feeling at home, whether that’s here or somewhere else with a little money, or more money. It’s really me feeling at home most of the time. The money matters, but I know what I can do on the court, and I can go out there and earn that, and I think I’ve proved that,” Monk told the media.
The upcoming free-agent class isn’t particularly deep, so there will be multiple teams who show interest in Monk, especially those who need shooting off the bench and can offer long-term security – which means you can expect multiple contending teams to be picking up the phone. Perhaps someone like the Brooklyn Nets will reach out considering their likely first-round exit, or the Denver Nuggets. Still, if the Lakers extend an offer early, they should be able to convince the former Charlotte Hornets guard to re-sign with the team for the foreseeable future.
Monk Has Respect for Frank Vogel
Frank Vogel was the first casualty of the Lakers’ disappointing season, losing his job after the final regular-season game. However, Vogel still retains a strong relationship with some of the roster, with Monk taking time to note that he has a strong respect for the former Lakers head coach.
“I love the man. He gave me a chance. As I said, this is the only team that called me in the offseason and really gave me a chance. I talked to Frank and Rob, so yeah, I have nothing bad to say about him. All praise goes to him because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had a chance to play basketball. I probably wouldn’t be here, so kudos to Frank,” Monk told the media.
Of course, if Monk does return to the Lakers next season, he will be operating under a new head coach. But, as long as he’s given the same opportunity, there’s no reason to think Monk won’t continue to improve and prove his worth to the Lakers organization as a key rotation player.