Greg Monroe

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Lowry, Butler, Monroe

Kawhi Leonard sidestepped questions about his falling out in San Antonio and the trade that brought him to Toronto during the Raptors’ media day this morning, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.

“I have no regrets,” Leonard responded to a question about his experience with the Spurs, “but I want to focus on this team and this journey that we have in front of us.”

Leonard was a two-time All-Star and an MVP candidate in San Antonio before suffering a quad injury that limited him to nine games last season. He was cleared by team doctors to return to action, but chose to remain sidelined on the advice of his personal physicians. The incident led to tension with the front office, clashes with teammates and derisive comments from coach Gregg Popovich.

Leonard informed the Spurs that he wouldn’t re-sign with the team once he opted out next summer, which led to his trade to Toronto. He told media members today that he’s doing fine physically.

“Right now I’m feeling great,” he said, “ready to play basketball.” (Twitter link)

There’s more from Toronto’s media day:

  • Kyle Lowry lost his best friend and backcourt partner when DeMar DeRozan was shipped to San Antonio in the Leonard trade, but he insists it won’t affect his focus for the upcoming season, saying “our relationship is bigger than basketball … that’s still my boy.” (Twitter link from Blake Murphy of The Athletic). Lowry added that he understands the business side of basketball because he has been traded before and watched the Grizzlies draft Mike Conley as his eventual replacement.
  • The Raptors have been mentioned as a possible candidate to trade for Jimmy Butler, but team president Masai Ujiri insists the team isn’t in trade talks with the Timberwolves. “I know there’s been rumors, but we haven’t had conversations,” he said. “This is our team.” (Twitter link)
  • Jonas Valanciunas is looking forward to having Greg Monroe as a teammate after playing against him for several years. The Raptors added the free agent center in August to serve as an experienced backup in the middle. “Yes, we had some battles before,” Valanciunas said. “He’s a tough guy. He never backs down, and I never back down, and now we have a chance to play together. So it’s fun.” (Twitter link)

Raptors Sign Greg Monroe

AUGUST 13: While the Raptors haven’t yet issued a press release confirming the move, Monroe has officially signed with the club, per the NBA’s transactions log.

AUGUST 6: Free agent center Greg Monroe has agreed to a contract with the Raptors, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Monroe will get a one-year, $2.2MM deal, Charania adds (Twitter link) and will move from one Eastern Conference contender to another after finishing last season with the Celtics. Monroe will fill the backup center slot, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN (Twitter link), who reported Toronto’s interest in Monroe last week.

The Raptors had their $5.3MM mid-level exception available, but are concerned about adding to their luxury tax bill. Toronto already had more than $137MM committed for next season before adding Monroe. He will become the 14th player on the roster with a fully or partially guaranteed contract.

An eight-year veteran, Monroe averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds last season while splitting time between the Bucks, Suns and Celtics. He was sent from Milwaukee to Phoenix in November as part of the Eric Bledsoe deal, then signed with the Celtics in February after agreeing to a buyout.

The addition of Monroe may signal the end of the Raptors’ relationship with Lucas Nogueira, who has been with the organization for the past four seasons. The free agent center got into 49 games last year and scored 2.5 points per night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Raptors Interested In Greg Monroe

Free agent center Greg Monroe could be a candidate to fill a roster opening in Toronto, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.

Monroe, who spent time with the Bucks, Suns and Celtics last season, would give the Raptors an experienced low-post scorer and add to their frontcourt depth. Although his playing time was inconsistent last year, Monroe still averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 51 games.

Toronto has a $5.3MM mid-level exception available, but Lewenberg notes that the franchise is already well into luxury tax territory and may prefer to fill out its roster with a veteran’s minimum contract. The team has 13 players with fully or partially guaranteed deals, and NBA rules require teams to carry at least 14 on their rosters.

Another possibility is re-signing free agent center Lucas Nogueira, although Lewenberg sees that as unlikely. Nogueira, who has spent his entire four-year career in Toronto, appeared in 49 games last season, averaging 2.5 points per night.

The team may also consider Chris Boucher, who held a two-way contract with the Warriors last season and appeared in one NBA game. Boucher will be in training camp on an Exhibit 10 deal and impressed new coach Nick Nurse during summer league, especially when he was used at center. Lewenberg states that the Raptors won’t rush to fill their roster opening, so Boucher may get a chance to audition for the spot in camp.

Celtics Rumors: Bamba, Ownership, Morris, Monroe

For the first time since 2015, the Celtics won’t have a top-five pick in the draft this year. However, it sounds like they may still have their eye on a top-five prospect.

According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, sources say that Boston has expressed interest in Texas big man Mohamed Bamba, including interviewing him at the draft combine in Chicago earlier this month. The Celtics’ first-round pick is at No. 27, and Bamba is expected to come off the board within the first six or seven picks on draft night, so in order to have a shot at the young center, the C’s would need to move way up.

While a trade doesn’t seem particularly likely, Deveney has previously reported that the Grizzlies are open to making a move with the No. 4 pick, and suggests today that the Mavericks may be willing to discuss the No. 5 selection. Additionally, Boston has no shortage of potential trade chips. The team could own up to four first-round picks in 2019, including the Kings’ selection (if it doesn’t end up first overall). Plus, given the Celtics’ backcourt and wing depth, players like Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown could become trade candidates for the right return.

The Celtics made a big draft trade last year when they sent the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia, but going from No. 27 into the top five would be an even more drastic move. As we wait to see if Boston seriously explores that possibility, let’s round up a few more Celtics notes…

  • While Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck didn’t want to discuss specific dollar figures, he told Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that ownership will have no qualms about spending to keep Boston’s roster together and pursue championships. “We put winning ahead of everything else,” Grousbeck said. “Every now and then you’ve got to make room and play the kids and get a Gordon Hayward in free agency, and other times you just try to keep a core together and build onto it. And we’re in the latter stage right now in trying to keep this group together and build onto it as best we can.”
  • More from Grousbeck, via Bulpett: “We can’t keep everybody if we’re going to keep adding (because of roster size limitations), but everybody who’s watched this team for 15 years knows what we’re about. … We live for banners. We live for rings. That’s what we live for.”
  • In a look at the Celtics’ potential roster and rotation for 2018/19, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe notes that Marcus Morris seems aware that a healthy lineup could create a minutes crunch for the team. “There’s going to be a lot of players next year, so I’m not 100% sure where I fit totally yet,” Morris said. “It’s just something I’m still kind of wary about.”
  • Within that same story, Himmelsbach says it’s “quite unlikely” that the Celtics will have interest in re-signing Greg Monroe this summer.

Celtics Notes: Irving, Gibson, Monroe, Morris

The follow-up operation that will keep Kyrie Irving out of the playoffs should fix his knee problem for good, although there is a slight chance of further complications, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Irving had successful surgery today, the Celtics announced, with two screws being removed that were used to repair the fractured patella he suffered in the 2015 NBA Finals.

The screws, which measure about four millimeters and were used to hold in place a tension wire that surgeons removed last month, had become infected. Deveney talked to Dr. Derek Ochiai, an orthopedic surgeon at the Nirschl Orthopedic Center, who explained that Irving’s condition can be easily fixed if the infection is localized, but is more serious if he has osteomyelitis, which would involve a slow-moving infection that began when the screws were first inserted.

“Best-case scenario, there is no osteomyelitis, no bone infection, no bacteria, and they’re taking the screws out as a precaution,” Dr. Ochiai explained. “Once he heals up and the screws are out, he’s fine. That’s best-case. But if there is an infection, you really should jump on that. Somebody who has had it for years, you’re looking at six weeks of IV antibiotics … and possibly other debris treatments where you have to clean out the bone more. You have to make those holes bigger to try to treat the infection. But you have to hope, he gets the hardware removed, and he is OK from there.”

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • New Celtic Jonathan Gibson became an instant fan favorite, relays Taylor Snow of NBA.com. Shortly after signing with the team, Gibson delivered nine points in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game. The offer was a surprise to Gibson, who was in Las Vegas when he learned about it on Thursday. “My agent called me and asked, ‘Do you want to go play for the Celtics the rest of the season?’” Gibson said. “I said, ‘Sure!’ and [director of player personnel] Austin [Ainge] called me and confirmed it. I was definitely excited. I called my family and let everybody know. Then I was on my way out here in the next couple of hours.”
  • Impending free agent Greg Monroe made his case for a new contract Friday by posting the first triple double for a Celtics center since 1987, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Monroe had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over the Bulls.
  • Marcus Morris discussed his relationship with the officials after being ejected for the second time this week, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “I’m not trying to be a bully and get kicked out,” he said. “They need to realize that because I’m not really having conversations with the referees, I don’t have anything to say to them. They’re doing too much by throwing guys out the game.”

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 Celtics.com 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, NBA.com’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.