Greg Monroe

Atlantic Notes: Theis, Monroe, Nets, Sixers

Daniel Theis‘ season-ending knee injury will force the Celtics to make adjustments in their frontcourt, as Taylor Snow of details. While the C’s figure out how to replace Theis’ minutes, Brad Stevens says he expects the rookie to make a full recovery and eventually return “better than ever.”

“You really feel for him,” the Celtics’ head coach said of Theis. “He was a guy that came in knowing he could play, but maybe not even expecting to have the type of season he had. And he didn’t change that when we brought Greg (Monroe) in and mixed up minutes here and there. He just kept being who he is, and we’re going to miss him on the court.”

Speaking of Monroe, he’ll get a chance to take on a larger role and make good on his one-year deal with the Celtics now that Theis is out, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. “One of the reasons why we wanted to sign Greg was because you never know what can happen with your depth inside,” Stevens said.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

Atlantic Notes: James, Ibaka, Monroe

Speculation about LeBron James signing with the Sixers is a tease, Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The scribe opines that it’s more likely the superstar either signs with Los Angeles or, more likely, stays in Cleveland.

Ford writes that it would play well for the Ohio product to stay home after having already departed the city once in his career. What’s more, he adds that the King’s vision of the Sixers may be slightly different than what Philly sees. Technically speaking, much of the club’s future hinges on a big man with a troubling injury concerns and a rookie with holes in his game.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing that James looks elsewhere, however, it could be beneficial for the Sixers to build organically from within rather than inking a ringer to take them from The Process to The Endgame.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After a year with the Raptors, it’s still difficult to gauge Serge Ibaka‘s value, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes. The big man has established himself as a more imposing shooter but has been inconsistent so far in 2017/18.
  • The Celtics understand that there will be situations where Greg Monroe can have a major impact on basketball games. The 265-pound big man recently seized an opportunity to impress his new teammates, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes.
  • In an in-depth feature profile, Eric Koreen of The Athletic breaks down the circumstances that brought Fred VanVleet to the Raptors as an undrafted free agent out of Wichita State. These days the 24-year-old is a vital piece of the club’s revered second-unit.

Atlantic Notes: Monroe, Nets, Porzingis, Injuries

Despite having an opportunity for more minutes and a chance to play in his hometown of New Orleans, newly-signed Celtics big man Greg Monroe chose Boston. Why? Because he wants to compete for a title, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

Although still only 27 years old, Monroe, who got his first taste of the playoffs last season with Milwaukee – and averaged 13.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game – is at a point in his career where being on a club with the potential to go deep into the playoffs is of the utmost importance. “It’s exciting,” Monroe said of being in the playoffs. “Last year I was able to play in it. The atmosphere was great. So, I’m looking forward to getting back there again.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have lost six games in a row and nine of their last 10, and are now only one game ahead of the last-place Hawks, who are tied with Dallas and Phoenix for the worst record in the NBA. Despite the losing streak, head coach Kenny Atkinson is working hard to build a winning culture in the locker room, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
  • According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis is ready to begin his rehab after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. “I’m attacking my rehab right away,” Porzingis wrote. “I truly believe that with consistent hard work, patience and positive attitude I’ll come back stronger, better, and sharper than ever.” And Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek took the enthusiasm one step further, telling Marc Berman of the New York Post that Porzingis will ultimately “be glad he went through it.”
  • Sixers role players Justin Anderson and Furkan Korkmaz have each suffered injuries this season, and Derek Bodner of The Athletic has updates on both players. Anderson, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Monday’s win over New York, will be out at least 7 to 10 days before being reevaluated, and Korkmaz, who has been out since December with a Lisfranc injury, has been cleared for controlled basketball activities.

Pacific Notes: Payton, Papagiannis, Green, Suns

Elfrid Payton‘s stint with the Magic ended on Thursday and by Saturday, he was putting up a solid performance in his Suns debut. The former lottery pick posted 19 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds in the Suns’ 123-113 loss to the Nuggets. Payton’s performance drew rave reviews from his teammates and coaches,’s Cody Cunningham writes.

“I thought he was good,” Suns head coach Jay Triano said. “It was different, the pace of play was better, getting the ball up and down the court, getting into the lane when he needed to, and making passes. He made the guys on the floor with him better.”

Payton, 23, has been viewed a disappointment through his first four NBA seasons after being the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. However, given his age and upside, Payton drew interest from several teams prior to the deadline.

Check out other Pacific Division notes:

  • The agent of now-former Kings center Georgios PapagiannisMarios Olympios, was critical of the team’s decision to waive the 20-year-old, Aris Barkas of Euro Hoops writes. “He (Papagiannis) never got a chance by the Kings,” Olympios said on the Greek radio station Sport FM, Barkas writes. “He had a double-double every time he played in the G-League. He had to travel for two and a half hour everytime he was assigned to Reno and still he performed. There are many details that prove that he never got a real chance”.
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green was fined $50,000 for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official, the NBA announced on its website. The incident occurred during the Warriors’ loss to the Thunder this past Tuesday.
  • The Suns received $1.5MM back in the buyout of new Celtics center Greg Monroe, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad.
  • After a blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers on Thursday, the Lakers freed up a ton of cap space that could be used to lure two premiere free agents to Los Angeles this summer. Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register writes that the organization’s moves have put it in position to be relevant again.

Celtics Sign Greg Monroe

FEBRUARY 8: Now that the trade deadline has passed without the Celtics needing to use their open roster spot, the team has made Monroe’s signing official.

FEBRUARY 2: Veteran center Greg Monroe will sign with the Celtics after he becomes a free agent this weekend, a league source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Monroe, bought out and waived by the Suns on Thursday, is on track to clear waivers on Saturday.GregMonroe vertical Getty

[RELATED: Suns buy out Greg Monroe]

The Celtics and Pelicans were believed to be the frontrunners for Monroe, a New Orleans native. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Pels offered Monroe the opportunity to be their starting center, but the big man will instead head to Boston, where he’ll have fewer guaranteed minutes, but a better chance to win a title.

Monroe will also be well compensated on his new deal with the Celtics, as Wojnarowski tweets that the one-year contract will be worth $5MM. That’s more than the Pelicans could offer, with Boston taking advantage of its extra flexibility by using its disabled player exception to reach an agreement with Monroe.

Even though the Celtics’ disabled player exception – awarded after Gordon Hayward went down in the team’s season opener – is worth $8.4MM, the DPE can only be used once, so the team won’t have the remaining $3.4MM available. Still, Boston plans to continue exploring the market for a perimeter scorer, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, who cautions (via Twitter) that the front office is reluctant to part with a first-round pick.

Monroe, who opened the season in Milwaukee, was sent to the Suns in the fall for salary-matching purposes as part of the Bucks’ trade for Eric Bledsoe. The 27-year-old saw inconsistent minutes in Phoenix as he battled fellow centers Tyson Chandler and Alex Len for playing time.

Although Monroe has had his role reduced and has only appeared in 25 games this year, he has continued to be very effective on a per-minute basis, averaging 10.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG with a .601 FG% in 21.8 minutes per contest. He’ll join a Celtics frontcourt that could use some interior scoring and rebounding help. Outside of Al Horford, no one on Boston’s roster is averaging more than 5.5 RPG this season.

The Celtics are currently carrying 14 players on their roster, so they won’t need to waive anyone to make room for Monroe. However, the move could be bad news for Jarell Eddie, who would have been a candidate to rejoin the C’s if they still had a roster spot available after the trade deadline.

It’s also worth noting that there’s no rule preventing Hayward from returning to the Celtics before season’s end if he’s healthy enough to do so. The NBA initially awarded the C’s their DPE after an independent physician determined that the injured forward was more likely than not to be sidelined through June 15. If Hayward beats that recovery timetable, Boston wouldn’t be penalized at all.

As for the Pelicans, while they’ll be disappointed to miss out on Monroe, they did add another frontcourt piece on Thursday, acquiring Nikola Mirotic from the Bulls. New Orleans also still has two open roster spots, so the club figures to keep an eye out for more reinforcements on the trade market or buyout market.

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Hornacek, Monroe, Fultz

The Knicks are still reeling after losing Kristaps Porzingis for the rest of the season and possibly longer, but GM Scott Perry told Brian Hayman of Newsday that a full recovery is expected. At a news conference today, Perry confirmed that Porzingis will need surgery for a torn ACL. The team doesn’t have a timetable for when it expects Porzingis to start playing again, but Perry did offer a bit of hope for Knicks fans.

“We have tremendous confidence in our medical group here that he’s going to make more than a full recovery,” Perry said. “And so whenever that time is, when he’s back on the court, we expect him to be back at full strength and better than ever. That was our message to him. And that’s his message to us.” 

The injury complicates a huge offseason decision in New York as Porzingis becomes eligible for an extension to his rookie contract. He was in the middle of his most productive year, averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game, so a max offer seemed inevitable. However, the injury may change the equation as the Knicks may seek to work out a smaller deal or could let the Latvian star become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Porzingis’ misfortune affects numerous aspects of the Knicks‘ organization, including the future of coach Jeff Hornacek, according to James Herbert of CBS Sports. Hornacek has one more season left on his contract, but he was hired by former team president Phil Jackson and doesn’t have a strong connection to the current regime. Hornacek is 54-83 in a season and a half in New York and may be presiding over another second-half collapse.
  • Free agent center Greg Monroe will officially sign with the Celtics sometime before Thusday’s game, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Monroe announced his plans to join the team on Friday, but there has been a delay in case the Celtics need an open roster spot for a trade before tomorrow’s deadline.
  • Sixers guard Markelle Fultz did a brief interview with TNT Tuesday night, prompting a round of post-game questions for coach Brett Brown about the rookie’s condition, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer“He doesn’t go through everything — there are some drills that I take him out of — but he does go through a lot,” Brown said. “He does go through a large majority of the practice. It isn’t 100 percent yet, but it a very large majority of our practices.” The top pick in the 2017 draft, Fultz has appeared in just four games.

Atlantic Notes: Kanter, Deadline Plans, Lin, Monroe

The Knicks‘ strategy approaching Thursday’s trade deadline is still unclear — the team has struggled to win games, but is within striking distance of the playoffs. Center Enes Kanter, who has arguably been the team’s best player, hopes the team caters its deadline decisions around a playoff push, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes.

“I think right now, our only goal is making the playoffs,” Kanter said. “Whatever guys they move or they don’t move, my thing is just focus on the playoffs. Obviously, I like every guy on our team. I would want to play with all the guys for the rest of my season and career because they’re just good locker room guys — besides basketball, they’re really just good guys off the court.”

Players such as Courtney Lee, Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, and even Kanter himself have seen their names floated in trade rumors. However, Kanter, along with Kristaps Porzingis, is the latest player to express a desire for the team to prioritize a playoff push rather than selling assets.

Check out other Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Despite sentiments from Knicks players of continuing a run at the postseason, Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders opines that the team should sell at the deadline. Beer writes that while getting Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina playoff experience would be beneficial, it should not come at the cost of acquiring assets for the future.
  • Jeremy Lins season-ending ruptured patellar tendon on opening night derailed a lot of optimism for the Nets at the season’s onset. While injuries have limited Lin to just 37 games in his first two seasons in Brooklyn, he’s expected to recover in time for Nets training camp next season, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes.
  • The Celtics agreed to a deal with Greg Monroe on Friday but the team may be waiting for a corresponding trade before making the signing official, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Rozier, Nader, Monroe

The emergence of Terry Rozier may affect the Celtics’ willingness to trade Marcus Smart, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Rozier posted a triple-double earlier this week in his first NBA start, then followed that with a 31-point game.

Smart took over as Boston’s primary defensive stopper on the wing after Avery Bradley was traded to Detroit during the offseason. He has excelled in that role, posting the league’s second highest defensive rating of 98.9 among players averaging at least 30 minutes per game. But Smart will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Celtics may be reluctant to match a sizable offer for someone who will be sharing time with Rozier.

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Smart expects to remain out until after the All-Star break with a hand laceration he received by punching a glass picture frame, relays Taylor Snow of Smart, who was angry about misfiring on a potential game-winning shot against the Lakers in a January 23 game, suffered a cut that required 20 stitches. “Being a competitor, missing the last shot, you kind of get upset with yourself,” Smart said. “You rethink about that night and what you could’ve done differently. You kind of replay everything in your head. As a competitor you want to make every shot, especially with the game on the line, and we fell short. So it was just a lot of frustration about my play as well.”
  • The younger Celtics are taking advantage of increased playing time with Kyrie Irving sidelined by a right quadriceps injury, Blakely writes in a separate story. Rozier has been the obvious beneficiary, but rookie forward Abdel Nader has also been making some important plays. “I just think when you’re young and you get the opportunity to play, it’s great experience when you have the responsibility of the game on your shoulders instead of just, you know, when you increase your minutes played,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
  • Once free agent Greg Monroe formally signs, he will make the Celtics the clear favorite in the Eastern Conference, Blakely adds in another piece. The veteran center announced his plans to come to Boston after agreeing to a buyout with the Suns earlier this week. He cleared waivers Saturday and is expected to sign soon. Blakely notes that Monroe will give the Celtics the additional size and inside scoring that they have been needing.

Latest On Greg Monroe

4:20pm: Monroe, whose buyout is now official, has spoken to both the Celtics and Pelicans and could make a decision within the next 24 hours, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. If it comes down to those two teams, Monroe would have to weigh an increased role in New Orleans vs. a greater chance to win a title in Boston.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate tweeted earlier today that the acquisition of Mirotic won’t adversely affect New Orleans’ pursuit of Monroe.

11:06am: The Pelicans have gathered “significant momentum” in their pursuit of Monroe and intend to make an aggressive play for him, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Wojnarowski, Pels head coach Alvin Gentry has already spoken to Monroe, who could decide on his next NBA home as soon as Friday or Saturday. Playing time will be a big factor in the veteran’s decision, Woj adds.

10:43am: The Suns and Greg Monroe reached a buyout agreement on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. However, Monroe has not yet been formally waived by Phoenix. Once he’s cut, he’ll spend two days on waivers before becoming eligible to sign with a new team, so no club with interest in the veteran center will be able to add him right away.

Still, the list of potential suitors for Monroe is growing longer. As we relayed in our initial report on Monroe’s buyout, the Celtics and Pelicans are viewed as two viable potential destinations for the big man, with the Thunder cited as a possible dark horse. TNT’s David Aldridge adds a couple more teams to that list today, tweeting that the Spurs and Wizards also have interest in Monroe.

While there are a number of teams trying to get into the mix, the buzz around the Pelicans continues to be the loudest. According to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), there’s “strong” mutual interest between the Pels and Monroe, who is a New Orleans native. With DeMarcus Cousins out for the season due to an Achilles injury, major minutes are available in New Orleans’ frontcourt — not every suitor could necessarily offer Monroe that significant a role.

Although the Pelicans could pitch Monroe on regular minutes and the idea of a homecoming, they may find themselves at a disadvantage if other teams offer the 27-year-old more than the minimum salary. New Orleans has portions of its mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available, but is only about $1.2MM away from a hard cap, limiting the team’s ability to sweeten the pot for Monroe. By comparison, a club like the Celtics could offer up to $8.4MM, the value of their disabled player exception (though I’d be very surprised if they do so).

It’s also worth noting that the Pelicans’ reported pursuit of Nikola Mirotic could be affected by how things play out with Monroe — it’s not clear if the club would have interest in adding both players.

Suns Buy Out Greg Monroe

FEBRUARY 1, 4:06pm: The Suns have officially waived Monroe, according to a press release issued by the club. He’s on track to clear waivers on Saturday.GregMonroe vertical Getty

We rounded up several rumors on Monroe’s next landing spot earlier today.

JANUARY 31, 9:53pm: The Suns and Greg Monroe have reached an agreement on a buyout, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adds that there will be “significant interest” around the league in signing Monroe to a rest-of-the-season contract once he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The timing of the deal is a bit peculiar with the trade deadline about a week away, but Bordow surmises that a worthy deal likely wouldn’t have materialized for Monroe anyway, so the timing really didn’t matter to Phoenix. Wojnarowski adds that the Suns did in fact exhaust all trade possibilities before agreeing to the buyout.

Monroe, who was sent to the Suns earlier this season in the move that landed Eric Bledsoe in Milwaukee, had seen inconsistent minutes since arriving in Phoenix, with Tyson Chandler and Alex Len also vying for minutes at the five. Monroe has been viewed as a candidate to be traded or bought out since the Suns acquired him — a trade would have been challenging due to his $17.88MM cap hit.

Earlier in the evening, John Gambadoro of opined that a buyout could be forthcoming after Monroe was not in attendance for tonight’s game against Dallas. Multiple sources indicate that the Celtics, who possess an $8.4MM disabled player exceptionare a team to watch in the Monroe sweepstakes, with Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports reporting that the interest is expected to be mutual.

Helping Boston is the fact that its disabled player exception – acquired as a result of the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward – does not prorate throughout the season. As detailed by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, this is different from the mid-level exception that most teams would utilize to offer Monroe a salary over the minimum.

In addition to the Celtics, another team said to be interested in Monroe is the Pelicans, per Bordow. New Orleans is in a position to make the playoffs and just lost All-Star DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the season. Moreover, a potential deal for Nikola Mirotic just fell through after New Orleans refused to guarantee Mirotic’s 2018/19 salary.

New Orleans is over the cap and wouldn’t be able to offer a free agent more than the prorated portion of the bi-annual exception — even that would be tricky due to the team’s hard cap and tax ramifications. Still, Monroe is from the New Orleans area, so the Pelicans may be hoping that he is willing to take some sort of hometown discount. In addition, New Orleans could offer him a starting position, while the Celtics would almost certainly bring him off the bench.

The Thunder could also be a dark horse in the Monroe sweepstakes, according to Mannix. Meanwhile, the Bucks are ineligible to re-sign Monroe after trading him earlier in the league year.