Not many of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ offseason moves have worked out well but there’s one that stands out. Malik Monk was arguably one of the biggest steals of free agency. The 24-year-old guard signed to the team on a minimum contract and has consistently impressed. He’s averaging 12.7 points a game and hitting 39% of his threes.
There’s no doubt that Monk has dramatically helped his stock heading into the next free agency period. That’s bad news for the Lakers as there’s no way the guard is going to have to settle for a minimum deal again. The team has very little flexibility in free agency thanks to last offseason’s Russell Westbrook trade. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin don’t see a path for the Lakers to bring back Monk.
“You look back and it’s insane he was a minimum player,” Wojnarowski said of Monk on The Woj Pod. “But you’ve seen him increase his value. They won’t be able to afford to keep him.”
“Most likely not,” McMenamin replied.
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Interest in Monk Will Increase
Last offseason, the only reason the Lakers were able to get Monk on a minimum deal was the fact that there wasn’t much interest in him. Per McMenamin, only three teams even called the guard about a possible deal.
“The difference is last summer, three teams called,” McMenamin said. “The Lakers, the Mavericks, the Knicks. This summer, you would imagine not only based on how much money will be out there on the market, but just the way he was able to perform this year, there will probably be more offers.”
Monk has proven a lot of doubters wrong this season. He hasn’t always been consistent but he’s certainly worth much more than the minimum.
Monk Wants to Be Laker Going Forward
While the Lakers are going to have a hard time keeping Monk around next season, it’s not impossible. Los Angeles is a prime destination for a guy like Monk and he’s already forming strong relationships with players on the team. He’s already stated that he hopes to return to the team.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look at my future with anything,” Monk told The Athletic recently. “I love it here. I’d love to play here again, man. But you never know what’s gonna happen with the NBA. You never know what happens. It’s a business, at the end of the day. But I’d definitely love to play here.
“But I don’t know. It’s hard to call the future.”
Obviously, Monk could be in line for the biggest payday of his life after the season ends. The Lakers might not be able to match the best offer he receives. Nobody could fault Monk for chasing the money. If Kendrick Nunn decides to decline his player option in the offseason, the Lakers could possibly give Monk his deal of two years, $10 million. However, he might be able to get even more than that.