Should the Milwaukee Bucks Make a Run at Greg Monroe?


Free agent big man Greg Monroe is rumored to have narrowed his choices between either the New York Knicks or Boston Celtics this off-season in order to obtain the max contract he desires.

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Monroe is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career and is looking for the lucrative payday that often comes with. The security of a four-year contract doesn’t hurt either despite never having suffered a major injury.

The biggest problem with Monroe, other than his religiously maligned defense, is the divide on exactly how much the five-year veteran is worth.

Monroe’s camp will argue he’s worth the max. Not surprising in the least bit. In the three months following Josh Smith’s departure, Monroe averaged 17.5 points on 51 percent from the floor and 11.3 boards in just 33 minutes a night.

Smith was waived by the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 22, 2014.

The Pistons would have you believe otherwise though as they didn’t even offer Monroe a rookie extension when they had the opportunity two years ago despite his consistent play.

The confusion seems to lie with the amount of on-court production not necessarily translating into wins. Without a doubt Monroe provides solid production. However, he doesn’t appear to be a franchise altering cornerstone who would ultimately warrant a max. He’s a good not great second or third option.

Despite the discrepancy, Monroe and his camp are still leaning towards scenarios that present the opportunity for the most money and a market to match. Lesser, more reasonable offers that present an opportunity to win are far less attractive to the 25 year old, at least at this point in his career.

It just so happens that the Milwaukee Bucks are in the market for a center with the cap space to match, but should they use all of that cap space on Monroe?

Nov 28, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) defended by Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe (10) during the first quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The move would not in the least bit affect the Bucks ability to retain restricted free agent Khris Middleton, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. It’s also unlikely Monroe is willing to take anything less than the approximately $15 million a year he’s entitled to, especially if it means ending up in Milwaukee.

The Bucks’ top two big man targets Brook Lopez and Tyson Chandler will likely receive upwards of $15 million and $12 million respectively.

Lopez is not often praised for his defense but he at the very least provides rim protection. At .5 blocks a game last season, Monroe will never be able to lay claim to that. The Bucks can make up for Lopez’s lack of rebounding, but they can’t match his rim protection.

Monroe would produce the exact opposite set of challenges on defense. Players actually shot 1.5 percent better when being guarded by Monroe despite his 6′ 11″, 250 pound frame.

Chandler is still an elite defender that provides championship veteran leadership and the type of intangibles like defensive tenacity that can’t be measured. It’s also likely his deal only spans three years as opposed to four.

With Middleton already presumably on the books, the Bucks’ biggest problem would be having Monroe on the books as well. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams are going to have to be taken care of in three years.

They have the potential to take a gigantic chunk of cap space even with a salary cap increase. It would also make it difficult to sign Jabari Parker to an early extension if he so chooses to.

Cap space must be used responsibly. Players commanding a lot of money is not a bad thing. It should actually be the opposite. However, a player commanding $15 million plus has to be an absolute keeper and only then can a franchise work out the logistics later.

Monroe doesn’t make the Bucks inherently better. He’s not worth it.

Next: Is It Time For Milwaukee To Swing For The Fences?

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