Malik Monk

Hornets Notes: McDaniels, Collins, Center Issues, Martin

Second-year Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, fresh off a recent assignment with the club’s G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, may be able to stick with Charlotte’s rotation thanks to his improving defense, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

The 6’10” McDaniels’ wingspan and positional fluidity will be key in helping the Hornets on defense. “Knowing my rotations, and being in the right spots,” McDaniels said of the solution to finessing his skill set guarding the opposition. “Being the best defender (possible) is going to keep me in the league for a long time.”

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • In another piece, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer weighs the pros and cons of a possible Hornets trade for Hawks restricted free agent-to-be John Collins. The talented power forward/center, who will probably command a maximum salary – or close to it – in the offseason, could be one of the best players on the freshly-exciting Charlotte. He is averaging 17.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG while posting a stellar slash line of .538/.383/.849 for a middling Atlanta club.
  • While a trade for Collins may not be realistic, it’s clear the Hornets need some level of upgrade at the center position, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Their vulnerabilities protecting the paint were exposed most recently in a 130-121 loss to the Warriors Friday. Even if Charlotte has to sacrifice a young prospect like Devonte’ Graham or Malik Monk, Bonnell posits, it may be worth it for the upgrade at the five.
  • Hobbled by injuries, the Hornets got some welcome availability news today, announcing that guard Caleb Martin is out of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and can suit up against the Kings tonight, the team announced on Twitter.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southeast Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southeast Division:

Malik Monk, Hornets, 23, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $15.7MM deal in 2017

Monk has forced his way back into Charlotte’s rotation — 36-point explosions will do that for you. Monk’s scoring outburst led the Hornets to an overtime victory against Miami on Monday. That was sandwiched by an 18-point game against Milwaukee and a 13-point output against Philadelphia. A 2017 lottery pick, Monk has never shot better than 34.2% from deep in his first three seasons and bottomed out at 28.4% last season. He’s made 52.5% of his long-range shots this season. Charlotte would have to extend Monk a $7MM+ qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer. The Hornets might opt to deal him this winter but Monk will continue to pump up his value if he keeps shooting like this.

Tony Snell, Hawks, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $46MM deal in 2017

Snell had a player option that was much too lucrative to turn down last offseason. When he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’ll be looking at substantially smaller offers that the one he received from Milwaukee in 2017. Snell started regularly for Detroit last season but he hasn’t gotten much floor time with Atlanta despite several injuries to wing players. He played a season-high 24 minutes against Utah on Thursday but once De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic return to action, Snell will reside at the end of the bench once again.

Kendrick Nunn, Heat, 25, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.1MM deal in 2018

Nunn was one of the league’s feel-good stories last season, an undrafted rookie who graduated from the G League to become a starter with the Heat, then finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 15.3 PPG and 3.3 APG in 67 regular-season games. However, he lost his starting job in the Orlando bubble following a bout with COVID-19 and hasn’t regained it this season. Nunn was playing regularly when Jimmy Butler battled the virus last month but he has fallen completely out of the rotation the last three games. Avery Bradley‘s latest injury should allow him to regain his spot. Nunn’s qualifying offer is a meager $2.1MM if he doesn’t meet the starter criteria, so he’ll likely become a restricted free agent. Still, it’ll be harder to land a big offer sheet from another club if his playing time continues to wildly fluctuate.

Ish Smith, Wizards, 32, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2019

Smith has carved out a nice career as a second-unit sparkplug. He’s always been capable of tossing in a 20-point night with his quickness and driving ability. Those outings haven’t occurred this season. He’s only reached double digits once despite averaging a steady 20.7 MPG. He’s still making a positive contributor with his passing – he’s averaged 7.0 assists the last five games – but he’s 1-for-12 from the field in his last two games despite playing 54 minutes. At 32, Smith will find it increasingly difficult to get offers ahead of younger players. That reality could strike as early as this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Notes: Monk, Knox, Ntilikina, Allen, Markkanen

Malik Monk‘s 36-point outburst on Monday pumps up his future value, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The Hornets guard has knocked down 15-of-26 from 3-point range since he was reinserted into the rotation four games ago and has also served as a playmaker.

“He makes us so much more dynamic. He’s kicking that ball out and making plays for others,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. Charlotte can make Monk a restricted free agent this summer by extending him a $7MM+ qualifying offer. Otherwise, he’ll head into unrestricted free agency.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Two prominent young players, forward Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, have fallen out of the Knicks’ rotation but it doesn’t appear they’ll join the G League’s Westchester Knicks in Orlando, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Dennis Smith Jr. agreed last week to join the G League club in order to get some playing time. Knox, who is currently stuck behind Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks, could have more trade value than Smith and Ntilikina because he’s under contract next season, Begley adds.
  • Jarrett Allen‘s big performance on Monday provided a glimpse of the future for the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. With Andre Drummond, who is headed to unrestricted free agency, sidelined by a back injury, Allen erupted for 23 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. He’s developing chemistry with young guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and the front office views him as the better long-term fit at center, Fedor adds. Allen will be a restricted free agent this offseason.
  • Following a disappointing season, Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen is making a case to be in the team’s long-term plans, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Markkanen, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, is averaging 22.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG while shooting 52.4% from the field over the last eight games.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Vincent, Monk, Pierce

Earlier this week, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk updated Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (Twitter link) on the health and availability status of a handful of Atlanta players. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo and center Onyeka Okongwu could be available later this week. Sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, a pricey offseason acquisition, will not be traveling with the club on the road this week but is nearing his own return.

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, will miss “several weeks” as he continues to rehabilitate from the avulsion fracture in his right knee. JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets that later examinations did not reveal further ligament damage.

Meanwhile, after requiring a walking boot following a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn had the boot removed today, Sarah K. Spence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • With the Heat lineup limited by coronavirus health and safety protocols and injuries, sharpshooting guard Gabe Vincent showcased his ability to perform at the NBA level, scoring a career-best 24 points in a 137-134 Tuesday overtime defeat to the Sixers. Vincent, signed to a two-way contract this season, could warrant a look even when all of Miami’s players return, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “He is a very good basketball player,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That extends far beyond spot-up shooting … Can guard multiple positions, competes, good team defender. Rebounds at his position. Offensively, you can play him like we did last night as our point guard.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer posits that shooting guard Malik Monk might be just what the doctor ordered as the Hornets struggle on offense. Monk not been a part of the Charlotte rotation yet this season. The 22-year-old has appeared in just two games for Charlotte this season, averaging 5.5 MPG. Across his four-year career, he is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.9 APG and 1.7 APG.
  • In a roundtable of NBA writers for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner opines that Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will be on the figurative “hot seat” this season. After a blistering 4-1 start, the Hawks went 1-4 in their subsequent five games. Several of those defeats came at the hands of the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, hardly Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Hawks are currently hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the East, having lavished significant offseason money on veteran depth.

Southeast Notes: Bryant, Zeller, Monk, Gallinari

Wizards center Thomas Bryant has learned to play more under control and that has him poised for a career year, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post.

“It’s fun to coach him, because he’s emotional. Last year it was not to our advantage. This year, he’s controlling it,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “… His growth in that area, it’s going to help us win a lot of games this year.”

Bryant is averaging 17.9 PPG and 6.7 RPG, enhancing his future value. He’s under contract with the Wizards through the 2021/22 season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets big man Cody Zeller said he can’t speed up the healing process after breaking the ring finger on his left hand, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. He has been relegated to working out — mostly on a stationary bike — to retain conditioning. He had a timetable of 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on Christmas Eve. “It’s not like a muscle or something else, where you can kind of work through it. You really have to give it time to heal,” Zeller said. “My rehab has been trying to get some of the swelling out.”
  • Hornets coach James Borrego will make some rotation changes to spark the offense and attempt to end the team’s three-game skid, Bonnell writes in a separate story“There are lineup tweaks that will be made for tomorrow. Not necessarily in the starting lineup. But along the way, trying to find some different combinations of guys as we move throughout a game to give us more offense,” Borrego said. Malik Monk could see his playing time expand at Cody Martin‘s expense, Bonnell speculates.
  • Danilo Gallinari was acquired by the Hawks in a sign-and-trade with the Thunder and made a three-year commitment. However, he’s already thinking about his long-term future, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. In an interview by La Repubblica, Gallinari said he’d like to eventually finish his career by returning to Italy’s Olimpia Milano. “Playing with Olimpia, in a team as strong and ambitious as this season, is a dream for me,” he said.

Southeast Notes: Monk, Hornets, Magic, Iguodala

Malik Monk is waiting for the Hornets to give him a chance after his bout with COVID-19 earlier this month, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Monk hasn’t gotten into a game yet this season and is fighting for playing time on a roster that’s much deeper at the wing than it was last year.

Monk will be a free agent when the offseason arrives, and the Hornets can make him restricted with a $7.3MM qualifying offer. He views this season as an audition for his NBA future.

“This is the big one. A big step to show what I can do,” Monk said. “With other teams, not only the Charlotte Hornets. To show other teams what I can do and how productive I can be. I can’t do that if I’m not on the court, but I don’t control that.”

Monk was hoping for better after a breakthrough performance in February when he averaged 17.0 PPG on 46% shooting in 13 games. However, before the month ended, he was suspended indefinitely for a violation of the NBA’s drug policy. Monk said he hasn’t received much feedback from coaches about what he needs to do to earn minutes.

“Super, super, super freaking frustrating (with) the waiting,” he said. “The month of February, I finally became an NBA player, finally got the minutes I thought I deserved a couple of years ago. I was proving myself. And that’s all I really could ask for at that point.”

 There’s more from the Southeast Division:
  • Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward have formed an instant chemistry as Hornets teammates, observes Sam Perley of They spent two years together with the Celtics, but Hayward was injured for much of that time. “Based on what I see, I think they play off each other well,” coach James Borrego said. “I’m sure they understand each other’s game at a higher level than if they just came in blindly to this situation. There’s history there, there’s chemistry, there’s connection. I think that helps us right now.”
  • The Magic are enjoying the benefits of their Serge Ibaka trade in 2017, notes Josh Cohen of With Ibaka headed toward free agency, Orlando shipped him to the Raptors at the deadline in exchange for Terrence Ross and a first-round pick. Ross is still a productive player for the Magic, and the pick eventually helped acquire Markelle Fultz from the Sixers.
  • The Heat used Andre Iguodala as a starter tonight, allowing him to extend a streak that began in 2004, tweets Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. Iguodala has started at least one game in every calendar year since entering the league, but tonight marked his first start since the 2019 NBA Finals.

Southeast Notes: Okpala, Strus, Hornets, Monk

Heat forward KZ Okpala is making a strong case to be in the team’s rotation this season, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Okpala, the No. 32 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, played in just five games last season, but the 21-year-old has impressed teammates and staffers alike during training camp.

“His physical tools are what impressed us, in particular the scouting department with Chet [Kammerer] and Adam [Simon] and Eric Amsler and Keith [Askins],” coach Erik Spoelstra said of why the team drafted Okpala. “They all just really thought it was unique how he can move his feet for someone his size. Then his length and he can seem bigger even than what he is. But he had to learn our system, learn the NBA and get in great shape and then be available day after day. 

“This has really been a process since the quarantine in May and June when he was really working just to get his body right doing a lot of player development. That’s a credit to his work and consistency. … I would say he’s probably, considering everything, he probably was arguably top-three best conditioned going into camp, which was important and much different than his previous camp last year.”

Okpala, a 6’8″ forward, could help fill the holes left by Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr., both of whom left in free agency. The Heat lack clarity on a starting five; they could choose to start Meyers Leonard alongside Bam Adebayo, as they did at the beginning of last season, or they could play small and start one of Okpala, Maurice Harkless or Andre Iguodala. The team could also give rookie Precious Achiuwa a shot in the lineup depending on his play.

Okpala had his best game in a Heat uniform on Friday, scoring 24 points, grabbing five rebounds and shooting 9-of-15 from the floor in 34 minutes of work.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • In a separate story for the Miami Herald, Anthony Chiang examines how Max Strus earned a two-way contract with the Heat. Strus, a 24-year-old sharpshooter, finished with 22 points off the bench on Friday, shooting 6-of-8 from 3-point range. He split time between Chicago and Windy City during the 2019/20 season.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic previews the Hornets‘ upcoming season, examining what steps the team could take with the additions of Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball. Charlotte finished just 23-42 last season and ranked 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency (106.3).
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer examines Malik Monk‘s future with the Hornets. Charlotte drafted Monk, 22, with the No. 11 pick in 2017, but he’s struggled to gain a rhythm early in his career. He shot under 40% from the field in both of his first two seasons, managing to raise the mark to 43% last season — though his 28% shooting from deep was a career-low.

Southeast Notes: Monk, Heat, Fultz, Bamba, Zeller

Hornets guard Malik Monk, who tested positive for the coronavirus, has now received medical clearance and could begin practicing with the team as soon as this weekend, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

According to Bonnell, Monk was scheduled to conduct individual workouts on Thursday and Friday. Hornets head coach James Borrego said that the former lottery pick should be able to participate in group workouts on Saturday and there’s still a chance he could play in the club’s second preseason game on Monday.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says the Heat are expected to at least kick the tires on the possibility of a James Harden trade, examines what the team’s best possible offer for the Rockets star might look like. Removing the protections on the 2023 first-round pick previously sent to Oklahoma City would be important, Jackson notes, since it would allow Miami to move its ’25 and ’27 first-rounders without violating the Stepien rule.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic explains why the Magic remain bullish on Markelle Fultz‘s upside and says there’s “no doubt whatsoever” that the team will exercise its fourth-year option for 2021/22 on Mohamed Bamba this month.
  • Although Hornets fans view Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller as potential trade candidates, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer suggests in a mailbag that the odds of either players being dealt in the next few months aren’t particularly high. Of the two, Zeller is probably more likely to be moved in 2020/21, Bonnell adds.

Malik Monk Tested Positive For COVID-19

Hornets guard Malik Monk is among the NBA players who recently tested positive for COVID-19, head coach James Borrego said today (Twitter link via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer).

Monk isn’t currently experiencing coronavirus symptoms, but will miss at least several more days of practice, Bonnell notes.

The 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Monk hasn’t been the scorer and shooter the Hornets hoped for through his first three NBA seasons, averaging just 8.6 PPG with a .322 3PT% in 191 total games. His 2019/20 season came to an early end when he was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. He was reinstated from that ban in June.

Although Monk hasn’t been a consistently productive player in Charlotte, he was playing well leading up to his suspension, scoring 17.0 PPG on .457/.350/.851 shooting in his last 13 games (27.9 MPG) of the ’19/20 campaign. He and the Hornets had been hoping to carry over that success to ’20/21, but his coronavirus diagnosis will set him back a little.

The NBA announced on Wednesday that 48 players tested positive for the coronavirus between November 24-30, so there are several other dozen players besides Monk waiting to be medically cleared.

Eastern Notes: Monk, Heat, Kanter, Dinwiddie

Hornets guard Malik Monk is seeking to regain the trust of his teammates after being suspended for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy in February, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Monk, who missed eight games due to the suspension and lost roughly $200K in salary, claims he’s in a better physical and emotional state now.

“I did it. I took my consequences for it,” Monk said of his suspension. “I think I’m making up for it right now. … I’m in a great place with my mind and my body. The responsibility now is even bigger for me to stay like this, instead of swerving off a little bit.”

Monk, the No. 11 pick of the 2017 draft, averaged 10.3 points and 2.1 assists in 21.3 minutes per game this season. He shot a career-high from the field (43.4%), though it was coupled with a career-low shooting mark from three-point territory (28.4%). Monk is entering the final year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for free agency in 2021.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • The Heat are utilizing veteran experience from Udonis Haslem and Andre Iguodala as they seek to reach their first NBA Finals since 2014, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. Haslem and Iguodala are the only Heat players to ever play in the Finals — both players are three-time NBA champions (Haslem with Miami in 2006, 2012, and 2013; Iguodala with Golden State in 2015, 2017 and 2018).
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Boston explores how Enes Kanter saved the Celtics’ season with his energetic play in the first half of Game 5. Kanter recorded eight points, four rebounds, and two assists in just over nine minutes, providing a spark to keep Boston within reach entering halftime. “[Kanter] kind of kept us at bay,” head coach Brad Stevens said. “We were struggling, they hit some really tough shots. [Duncan] Robinson was going nuts, and Kanter’s points in the paint, I thought, really helped. And kind of helped steady us and give us a chance at halftime, only being down 7.”
  • Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily examines whether the Nets’ offseason plans hinge on the fate of Spencer Dinwiddie, who could be traded in a package for a third star or kept as the lead ball-handler off the bench next season. Dinwiddie stepped up his play this season and has stated his willingness to surrender offensive opportunities for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, averaging a career-high 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game on the season.