Malik Monk

Lakers Sign Malik Monk

AUGUST 6: The Lakers have officially signed Monk, per a team release.

AUGUST 3: The Lakers are poised to add another sharpshooter to their roster, having agreed to a deal with free agent guard Malik Monk, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’s believed to be a minimum-salary contract, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac.

Monk, a former 11th overall pick, struggled in his first three NBA seasons, making just 32.2% of his three-point attempts and serving a drug-related suspension in 2020. However, he emerged as a reliable role player in 2020/21, averaging 11.7 PPG on .434/.401/.819 shooting in 42 games (20.9 MPG).

The Hornets opted not to tender Monk a $7MM+ qualifying offer over the weekend, making him an unrestricted free agent and ensuring that a team like the Lakers can sign him outright without having to worry about an offer being matched.

After nearly acquiring Buddy Hield in a trade with Sacramento last week, the Lakers pivoted and agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook instead, creating a major need for shooting on the wing.

The team began to address that need by agreeing to minimum-salary deals with Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, and Trevor Ariza on day one of free agency. Monk will give the Lakers another option for spacing the floor around their stars.

Hornets Tender QO To Devonte’ Graham, Make Malik Monk UFA

The Hornets have made point guard Devonte’ Graham a restricted free agent by tendering him a qualifying offer, but won’t give shooting guard Malik Monk a QO, according to Rod Boone of (Twitter links).

Graham, the 34th overall pick in the 2018 draft, had a breakout season for Charlotte in 2019/20, when he averaged 18.2 PPG and 7.5 APG in 63 games. He saw his role dialed back a little this past season due to the emergence of fellow point guard LaMelo Ball, but was still a solid backcourt contributor for the Hornets, recording 14.8 PPG and 5.4 APG with a .375 3PT%.

Graham’s qualifying is worth approximately $4.7MM. While he could accept that one-year offer, it’s more likely that he’ll work out a more lucrative – and longer-term – agreement with the Hornets or another team. According to Boone, Charlotte considers Graham a part of the team’s core and is hopeful the two sides can work out a new deal.

The Hornets’ decision on Monk is the more interesting of the two. The former 11th overall pick struggled in his first three NBA seasons, making just 32.2% of his three-point attempts and serving a drug-related suspension in 2020. However, he emerged as a reliable role player in 2020/21, averaging 11.7 PPG on .434/.401/.819 shooting in 42 games (20.9 MPG).

With a crowded backcourt – one that now includes 11th overall pick James Bouknight – the Hornets opted against issuing Monk a $7MM+ qualifying offer, so he’ll be free to seek out a new home as an unrestricted free agent. Teams in need of shooting on the wing could give the former Kentucky standout a look this week.

The Hornets also didn’t tender a qualifying offer to two-way player Grant Riller, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who tweets that the team and player aren’t ruling out a new deal.

Hornets Notes: Ball, Monk, Hayward, Cody Martin

LaMelo Ball exceeded expectations in his first season with the Hornets, but coach James Borrego still sees room for improvement, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Ball is a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors and Borrego has called him the “engine” of Charlotte’s offense, but his first season was also marked by excessive turnovers and missed assignments on defense.

Bonnell notes that Ball didn’t have a full summer or a traditional training camp to adjust to the NBA. He still averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 51 games and may have been a runaway choice for the league’s top rookie if not for a broken wrist he suffered in March.

“This is all new and fresh for him,” Borrego said. “I thought he was making some significant steps before the injury. I thought he showed tremendous growth. Obviously, that was disrupted with the injury. The goal now — one of my top priorities this summer — is to really work with this kid … work on offense and defense. We’ve got to take some major steps, and it starts with his body, and then working through offense and defense.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Malik Monk‘s future with the team is uncertain as he heads toward free agency this summer, Bonnell states in the same story. The fourth-year guard is coming off his best scoring season, averaging 11.7 points per game, but he might not have a set role in a crowded Hornets backcourt. “If they want me here, I’d love to be here,” Monk said Wednesday in a session with the media, “but I want to feel wanted.” 
  • A sprained right foot sidelined Gordon Hayward for the final 25 games, but he doesn’t expect to need offseason surgery, Bonnell adds. Hayward told reporters that when the injury occurred in early April, he was given a recovery timeline of six to eight weeks. This Friday represents the seven-week mark.
  • Cody Martin missed Tuesday’s play-in game with a sprained ankle and said he probably won’t be able to do any on-court work until next week, Bonnell tweets. That mean’s it’s unlikely that Martin would have been available for a first-round playoff series if the Hornets had advanced.

Hornets Notes: Offseason, Monk, Graham, Bridges, Rozier

The Hornets‘ season came to a disappointing end on Tuesday night, as the team’s defense provided little resistance in a 144-117 blowout loss to the Pacers. Indiana made 55.2% of its shot attempts, including 16-of-35 threes (45.7%) en route to the play-in win.

Despite the anticlimactic end, there was plenty to like about the Hornets’ season, says Brendan Marks of The Athletic. LaMelo Ball‘s promising rookie season was the most obvious bright spot, but the development from other young players such as Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington also showed that the club is on the upswing, as Marks writes. And participating in the play-in game at all was a good first step toward developing into a contender.

“It’s just a matter of how do we respond this summer? Do we use this as fuel, or do we feel sorry for ourselves?” head coach James Borrego said after the game. “Part of this is etching this in our memory bank, so as we grow, as we get better, as we work this summer, we don’t forget this moment right now. Next time we’re in this position, we’ll respond better. We’ll be better.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • While he declined to identify specific players or positions that the team will be targeting in the offseason, Borrego expressed confidence that Charlotte will be an attractive destination for free agents this summer, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).
  • One of the Hornets’ own free agents, Malik Monk, is open to re-signing with the team, he said today. If they want me here, I’d love to be here,” Monk said (Twitter link via Bonnell). “But I want to feel wanted.” Monk will be a restricted free agent as long as the Hornets issue him a $7MM qualifying offer.
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s free agency and potential contract extensions for Bridges and Terry Rozier are among the issues facing the Hornets this offseason, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). In his own preview of Charlotte’s offseason, Bonnell notes that finding a solution at center and adding shooting will be among the club’s top priorities.

Lowe’s Latest: K. Williams, Payne, Monk, Burks, Hartenstein

For the 10th year in a row, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has named his end-of-season “Luke Walton All-Stars,” honoring overlooked rotation players and NBA journeymen who have impressed him most over the course of the year.

Nets guard Bruce Brown, Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Raptors teammates Yuta Watanabe and DeAndre’ Bembry are among the players who made Lowe’s list, which also includes a handful of interesting tidbits on some of his choices. Here are a few highlights:

  • Thunder forward Kenrich Williams, who resisted signing a two-way contract multiple times earlier in his career, has enjoyed a breakout year in Oklahoma City. Sources tell Lowe that several playoff teams expressed trade interest in Williams prior to March’s deadline, but he wanted to remain in OKC, where he’s under contract for two more years (both non-guaranteed).
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne told Lowe that he thought his NBA career might be over in 2020, when the Mavericks opted to sign Trey Burke over him for the summer restart after he had played well for Dallas’ G League affiliate. However, he got an opportunity shortly thereafter with Phoenix, in large part because head coach Monty Williams had gotten to know him during their time with the Thunder.
  • Another former first-round pick, Hornets guard Malik Monk, was concerned about his NBA career last year as well, following his suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, his brother Marcus Monk told Lowe. The former Kentucky standout has enjoyed a career year while trying to let go of tension about his role, Lowe writes. “Guys who have success in college think the NBA is going to go a certain way,” Marcus said. “You think you’re invincible. Malik fell victim to that. I’m proud of how he matured.”
  • Before he signed a one-year, $6MM contract with the Knicks last fall, Alec Burks discussed a deal with the Bulls, according to Lowe. Burks’ familiarity with Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant from their time in Utah was a factor in his decision to choose New York.
  • After an underwhelming stint in Denver, Isaiah Hartenstein has played well for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 16 games (17.9 MPG). Lowe says he wouldn’t be surprised if Hartenstein turns down his minimum-salary player option for 2021/22 to seek a new deal.

LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk To Return Saturday

4:26pm: Ball and Monk have both been cleared to play tonight, with Ball returning to the starting lineup, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Coach James Borrego plans to have them both play four to five minutes at a time, but didn’t offer an estimate of how much total court time either player will see.

12:20pm: Monk intends to return for Saturday’s game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who notes (via Twitter) that Ball will test his wrist before the game before making a final determination on his availability.

11:38am: Ball is expected to return to action on Saturday against the Pistons, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

9:06am: The Hornets have upgraded both LaMelo Ball (right wrist fracture) and Malik Monk (right ankle sprain) from out to questionable for Saturday’s tilt against the Pistons, paving the way for both players to return.

Ball, 19, suffered a fractured wrist in late March, an injury that was believed to be season-ending. However, the then-projected Rookie of the Year has progressed well in his recovery from wrist surgery and may end up missing just over a month.

Before the injury, the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft averaged 15.9 PPG, 6.1 APG and 5.9 RPG while shooting 45.1% from the field in 41 games (21 starts).

As for Monk, he suffered his sprained ankle in early April and was initially projected to miss at least two weeks. The injury lingered and Monk will also end up missing a month, should he return tonight or in any of the Hornets’ upcoming games.

Monk, 23, averaged 13.2 PPG for Charlotte in 32 contests off the bench before his injury.

The Hornets were in fourth place in the Eastern Conference at the time of Ball’s injury but the team has since slipped down to eighth with a 30-32 record.

Injury Notes: Hornets, Huerter, Warren, DSJ, Bagley

The Hornets will see if LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk are ready for game action during their off days Thursday and Friday, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Ball had surgery March 23 on his fractured right wrist, while Monk has been sidelined since April 1 with a sprained ankle. Both players will take part in 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 scrimmages over the next two days.

The news isn’t as encouraging for Gordon Hayward, Bonnell adds. He’s still wearing a protective boot on his injured right foot and there’s no timetable for him to start working out. “Gordon is not there yet,” coach James Borrego said.

Here are some more injury-related notes and updates:

  • The Hawks are getting a second opinion on Kevin Huerter‘s sprained left shoulder, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Huerter underwent an MRI this week, but the results haven’t been announced.
  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren, who will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, began jogging today on a treadmill, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Coach Nate Bjorkgren called it “a big step” for the 27-year-old forward.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. hasn’t been able to practice lately and the Pistons don’t have a timeline for him to return from left knee soreness, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “That’s why it’s so important that Killian (Hayes) came back,” said coach Dwane Casey. “… It’s unfortunate that he’s been hurt, but injury is something you have to deal with.”
  • Marvin Bagley III could return soon from his hand injury, Kings coach Luke Walton tells James Ham of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Bagley has participated in some 3-on-3 games and may be ready to start playing in the next few days.

Injury Notes: Lillard, Durant, Fox, Hornets

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who has missed the team’s last three games due to right hamstring tendiopathy, intends to return on Wednesday night vs. Denver, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Trail Blazers will welcome Lillard’s return — after squeaking out a one-point win in San Antonio, the club lost its next two games without him. Portland remains in the No. 6 seed in the West, but now has just a 1.5-game cushion over the seventh-place Mavs.

Here are a few more injury-related notes and updates:

  • A pair of sources confirmed to Brian Lewis of The New York Post that Kevin Durant‘s thigh injury is considered minor. Durant remains with the Nets on their current road trip rather than having returned to Brooklyn, and head coach Steve Nash said the star forward is “day-to-day.” The latest update from the team on James Harden wasn’t quite so positive, as we relayed last night.
  • Kings head coach Luke Walton said after Tuesday’s game that point guard De’Aaron Fox tweaked his ankle on Sunday, per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter link). It doesn’t appear the injury will sideline Fox for now, but it explains why he was limited to 28 minutes in the club’s loss last night — those 28 minutes were the fewest he has played in a game since January 15.
  • There’s still no set timetable for LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk, or Gordon Hayward to return to the Hornets, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Although Monk’s return isn’t imminent, he’s believed to be closer than Hayward, says Bonnell. As for Ball, while a Monday report suggested he could be back as soon as early next week, head coach James Borrego wouldn’t confirm that, but he did say it seems that Ball wouldn’t be at risk of worsening his wrist injury if he returns this season, which is good news for Charlotte.

Southeast Notes: Collins, Magic, Westbrook, Monk

Hawks star John Collins returned from an ankle injury on Sunday to help give his team a boost in a 129-117 victory over the Pacers, Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

Collins, who missed the team’s last nine games, finished with eight points and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Atlanta remains without Danilo Gallinari, De’Andre Hunter, Tony Snell, Cam Reddish and Kris Dunn due to injuries, but getting back the 23-year-old Collins will certainly help.

“I felt great,” Collins said postgame. “I feel like I’m back to 100%. Obviously, trying to get the wind back to where it was before I got hurt, but be that as it may, I felt great out there. Just great to be back out with my teammates and happy, happy, happy we got that W tonight, so trying to stay here and continue to progress.”

There’s more from the Southeast today:

  • The Magic‘s veterans are looking to keep the team focused as the regular season starts to wind down, Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Orlando currently holds an 18-38 record, the second-worst mark in the East, placing five games behind the No. 10 Bulls. “I feel like myself, T-Ross (Terrence Ross), MCW (Michael Carter-Williams), Bac’ (Dwayne Bacon), Gary (Harris), we can help them — all the young guys — have the right approach every game,” James Ennis said. “I know it’s kind of tough playing these last games. I don’t know if we can make the playoffs or not, but it’s just our jobs to keep everybody engaged and just staying focused on the goals for our team and ourselves.”
  • The Wizards have taken on Russell Westbrook‘s personality this season, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington explores. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double on the season — 21.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game — but his primary focus remains helping Washington make the playoffs. “He’s just full of energy, ready to go, always a winning mentality,” teammate Bradley Beal said. “He’s going to play extremely hard every single time he touches the floor. It’s so surreal to be able to see a guy that plays as hard as he does still have that type of energy, still getting himself up and ready to go.”
  • Hornets guard Malik Monk isn’t close to returning from injury, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Monk has done “very little activity” since suffering a sprained ankle, coach James Borrego said. The 23-year-old is currently enjoying the best season of his young career.

Hornets’ Monk Sidelined At Least Two Weeks

Hornets coach James Borrego anticipates that shooting guard Malik Monk will miss at least two weeks due to a sprained right ankle, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets.

Monk was injured when he landed awkwardly after colliding with Brooklyn’s Jeff Green during the fourth quarter on Thursday.

Charlotte entered Friday’s action with a tenuous hold on the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference.

For the fourth straight season, Monk is one of the Hornets’ key reserves. He’s averaging a career-best 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 1.9 APG in 21.7 MPG while appearing in 32 contests this season. Monk has knocked down a career-best 42.4% of his 3-point attempts.

He enjoyed one of the best games of his career last Friday, pouring in 32 points in 26 minutes in a five-point win over Miami. Monk is headed to free agency this summer — Charlotte could make him restricted if it extends a $7MM+ qualifying offer.

Caleb Martin and Cody Martin could see more action in Monk’s absence.