Lakers to Face Competition from Bulls, 3 Others to Re-Sign Malik Monk: Report

Lakers guard Malik Monk

Getty Lakers guard Malik Monk

Malik Monk becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Los Angeles Lakers will face competition from four teams to keep him.

According to Heavy’s Sean Deveney, the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks are expected to have interest in Monk.

“The team to watch if he is going to leave the Lakers, which he obviously should, is the Knicks,” an NBA GM told Deveney. “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.

“The Bulls need shooting, as much as they identify as a mid-range team They have got to find shooters. It’s 2022. You need 3s. And Cleveland, they’re going to look to make an impact in free agency. They could use a shooter, too. … Dallas, I would look out for them. They need to create flexibility, but once they do, they would have an interest in a guy like Monk.”

Monk played well for the Lakers this season. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 47.3% from the field, 39.1% from beyond the arc and 79.5% from the free-throw line. The Kentucky product only made $1,789,256 in 2021-22, so he’s in line for a huge payday this summer.

Monk Could Get Paid This Offseason

According to Deveney, Monk could get a major pay raise this offseason since he played well for the Lakers.

“Monk figures to be a mid-level exception player, at worst, on the open market and could fetch a deal in the three-year, $32 million (or four year, $45 million) range, according to sources around the league,” Deveney reported. “He could make some of that back by signing with the Lakers the following summer when the Lakers can pay him a mid-level deal themselves, but it would cost Monk up-front money and put him at enormous injury risk.”

As it stands, the Lakers will be able to re-sign Monk only by either offering him 120% of the veteran minimum (roughly $2 million) or using the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, estimated to be worth around $6.3 million.

During his exit interview with reporters, Monk said money is not the top factor in his summer decision. The guard just wants to feel “comfortable.”

Monk Talks Future

Monk enjoyed playing for the Lakers despite the team being a walking disaster. The youngster had fun playing with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.

“It’s really me being comfortable, feeling like at home, whether that’s here or somewhere else with a little money, or more money,” Monk said. “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 proved that, so, yeah, it really just me feeling at home and wanted.

“Just knowing that I had an organization behind me, man, made me way more comfortable to go do things like that. And it’s hard to be down when you have Bron on your team, Russ, A.D., Melo, Dwight, all these vets, man, that had not so good years and they know how to deal with things like that. So it wasn’t that hard on me because I’ve got a lot of support, man, from those guys.”

It will be interesting to see where Monk is playing next season. The Lakers will have to create cap space to bring him back since he raised his value around the league.

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