Suns agree to buyout with Greg Monroe

Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns

After spending five productive seasons with the Detroit Pistons to start his NBA career, Greg Monroe joined the Milwaukee Bucks before the 2015-2016 campaign.

Averaging 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game that season, Monroe’s minutes inexplicably declined to 22.5 the following year. That season, he didn’t start a single game for now-axed Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. He still managed to be productive, though, averaging 11.7 points and 6.6 boards per contest.

This season, he spent just five games with the Bucks before being dealt to the Phoenix Suns as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. Phoenix, who never viewed him as a viable long-term member of the club, gave him playing time in just 20 games, where he averaged 11.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in just 23.3 minutes.

The rebuilding Suns seemed to know all along that they wouldn’t be keeping Monroe around after this season. After all, he’s on an expiring deal and will most likely demand a multi-year, lucrative offer in the summer. Therefore, when the team decided to play him, they wanted to showcase his abilities for the rest of the league in addition to giving center Tyson Chandler a rest day.

No one ended up being interested and apparently the Suns felt as though they weren’t going to be able to trade him.

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns

That’s why they decided to get together with Monroe and negotiate a buyout, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 27-year-old big man will be placed on waivers on Thursday for 48 hours. If he goes unclaimed, he will become an unrestricted free agent.

The natural question becomes where he will end up, since many teams will probably be interested in him.

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns

According to Wojnarwoski, the Celtics are among the teams that will make a strong push to sign Monroe since they have an $8.4 million disabled player exception stemming from Gordon Hayward’s opening-night injury.

Turner Sports’ David Aldridge also believes that Boston is one of the possible landing spots for Monroe.

So does Yahoo Sports’ Chris Mannix.

Keith Smith of RealGM and FanRag Sports went so far as to claim that Monroe could be part of Boston’s “dream scenario” in which they land both Tyreke Evans and the talented center.

Since DeMarcus Cousins recently went down with a season-ending injury, the New Orleans Pelicans have also emerged as a possibility.

The San Antonio Spurs are also being regarded as a potential landing spot.

In the end, it all comes down to what Monroe desires. If he wants to be a part of a championship contender, he will elect to join a team like the Celtics or Spurs. If he wants a more prominent role with an added hometown bonus, he could choose the Pelicans. Or, he could shock everyone and go somewhere completely unexpected where he could play 30-plus minutes on a nightly basis. That’s the benefit of being an unrestricted free agent.

Wherever he ends up, he will likely make the decision with the upcoming summer in mind. Using the rest of this season as an extended showcase, Monroe could command a massive multi-year contract based on his production in limited minutes over the last few years.

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