A day after formally being waived by the Phoenix Suns, big man Greg Monroe is on the move back to the Eastern Conference.
According to multiple reports, the Boston Celtics have reached an agreement with the former Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks center. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Monroe will sign a one-year, $5 million deal with Boston once he clears waivers on Sunday and has more on the Celtics’ new addition:
Boston didn’t make hard and firm promises on playing time with Monroe, league sources said. Monroe’s ability to score the ball inside gives Boston another dimension as it prepares to make a push for a deep run into the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In Boston, Monroe might be best utilized in a reserve role with the Celtics. Stevens has leaned heavy on Aron Baynes in a starting spot given the toughness he adds alongside Al Horford. Boston’s defensive rating is a team-best 95.5 when Baynes is on the court and his offensive limitations are offset when running him alongside starters like Kyrie Irving. Boston’s defensive rating spikes to a team-worst 102.2 when Baynes sits.
The Celtics have desperately needed an offensive threat when Irving goes to the bench and Monroe could see plenty of touches with reserve units. His biggest competition for minutes will come from Daniel Theis, an offseason import from Germany who has slowly emerged as a key rotation player. For the month of January, Theis averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds over 16.4 minutes per game. He also shot 47.6 percent beyond the 3-point arc in January and gives maximum effort on both ends.
Stevens will have to figure out where Monroe fits on a team that likes to spread the floor and Monroe must commit to playing defense in order to win his coach’s trust. Still, Monroe’s offensive talents might be too tantalizing. Given all the maddening lulls that Boston’s second unit has endured this season, Stevens can have reserve units feed Monroe when the offensive is struggling. Monroe gives Boston a much-needed post threat and his passing talents will create open looks for teammates.
Monroe, who is averaging 10.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 23.3 minutes per game this season, is a Louisiana native and had reported interest in signing with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans were interested in that move as well, but according to Wojnarowski they could only offer Monroe a $2.2 million deal.
According to TNT analyst David Aldridge, the San Antonio Spurs and Pistons were also interested in adding the big man as well.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has more on why Monroe opted to sign with the Celtics over the Pelicans and others:
The Pelicans just lost big man DeMarcus Cousins for the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles, and Monroe would’ve had a chance for big minutes in Cousins’ absence.
But Boston offers Monroe, 27, a chance to contribute to a team that has a strong chance of reaching the Eastern Conference finals, perhaps further. The Celtics are 37-15 and in first place in the East, two games ahead of the Toronto Raptors and six games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While money was not the ultimate deciding factor for Monroe, the Celtics have a disabled player exception worth $8.4 million from the Gordon Hayward injury and could offer more money than New Orleans.
Monroe, who came to Phoenix via Milwaukee in the Eric Bledsoe trade in November, joins a Boston team currently leading the Eastern Conference. An eight-year NBA veteran, Monroe has been to the playoffs just once in his career, averaging 13.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg while shooting 52.9 percent in the Milwaukee Bucks’ six-game, first-round playoff series exit against the Toronto Raptors.