NBA GM Urges Eastern Conference Team to Steal Lakers Sharpshooter

Lakers bench

Getty The Lakers' bench.

The Los Angeles Lakers only have seven players under contract for next season. They are Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Stanley Johnson and Austin Reaves.

Eight Lakers from this year’s roster will enter unrestricted free agency this summer. The players are Avery Bradley, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk and D.J. Augustin.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will be under a lot of pressure to improve the team this summer since his club has been a walking disaster this season. The purple and gold are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings. Most pundits expect Pelinka to try to trade Westbrook in the summer since the one-time MVP has been an awful fit next to LeBron and Davis.

Along with moving Westbrook, Pelinka must try to re-sign Monk, who has been the Lakers’ third-best player this season behind LeBron and Davis. One general manager who spoke to Heavy believes the Chicago Bulls should pursue Monk this offseason, which could be bad for the Lakers since the Bulls can offer the guard more money.

“I know the Bulls have almost made a big deal about not needing to shoot 3s and about how they’ve managed to be good even without that aspect of things in their game,” the GM told Heavy. “But look, you can see over time you’ve got to be able to shoot. You’ve got to have guys who can make shots and clear space in the lane and Monk is probably the one guy who can give that to them in a big way.

“Bring him off the bench and let him fire away. He would have been a target there if things had not worked out with Alex Caruso last summer. So they should have their mid-level (exception) this summer, they can give that to him and it will just really quickly transform how their bench looks, how their offense looks. It gives them a new dimension.”

Monk signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Lakers last summer. He will undoubtedly get a pay raise this summer since he’s had a great season for Los Angeles.

Monk Has Played Well for Lakers

Monk is averaging 13.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Lakers while shooting 46.9% from the field, 38.7% from beyond the arc and 78.4% from the free-throw line. He’s been one of the few bright spots for the Lakers, who would like to re-sign the Kentucky product.

“The partnership has been a win from both sides,” Pelinka told Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Both for the Lakers, in terms of the productivity he’s had for us and then I think on his side, just showing people what he can do in big moments in big games. … He’s a guy that we would see as hopefully a part of our future.”

Marcus Monk, Malik’s older brother and manager, would love for his brother to re-sign with the Lakers this offseason. However, according to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, Los Angeles 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.

“We’re very loyal people,” Marcus told McMenamin. “The Lakers were calling him nonstop once free agency opened. So we don’t forget about that. On the other side, it is a business. … But I would love to see him in a Laker uniform.”

The Lakers can’t afford to lose Monk since he’s an excellent shooter, scorer and driver. However, unlike the Bulls, LAL doesn’t have the money to pay him what he deserves.

Bulls Can Steal Monk from Lakers

The Bulls’ non-taxpayer mid-level exception is estimated to be worth around $10.3 million. They also have a bi-annual exception worth $4 million and a trade exception worth $5 million.

Chicago is 28th in the league in 3-pointers made per game, hitting only 10.8 a contest. Monk would be a great fit on the Bulls next to Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic since he can space the floor with his 3-point shooting and create his own shot off the dribble.

It will be fascinating to see where Monk is playing next season. Lakers fans are certainly hopeful the youngster doesn’t get stolen by the Bulls or another team in free agency.

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