New York Knicks Rumors: Could the Knicks Be Targeting Greg Monroe?


The NBA Free Agent Class of 2015 just got a little bit more enticing this week. Detroit power forward Greg Monroe has decided to take Detroit’s qualifying offer of $5.479 million for the upcoming and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Taking the low one year deal isn’t even the strangest part though. According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, unless Monroe could find a sign-and-trade, the qualifying offer was the intention the whole time.

"“Monroe and his agent, David Falk, never sought an offer sheet from another team but pursued sign-and-trade proposals with at least five other teams, including Portland and Oklahoma City, according to a person familiar with the discussions.”"

So Monroe virtually told the Pistons that there is a zero percent chance that he will be in the Motor City beyond this season. By solely seeking sign-and-trade offers, Monroe wanted to make sure he didn’t give the Pistons the ability to match another team’s offer sheet and lock him up in Detroit for the foreseeable future.

Is it a risky move? Of course it is because there is always a chance of getting injured and never cashing in on that big contract. To his credit, he is making the move that is right for him, not necessarily the most practical one.

So where do the New York Knicks factor into this?

Look at New York’s roster. They have seven players under contract for next summer. However, none of them are front court players, provided Carmelo Anthony remains at small forward. The Knicks will definitely be looking to add a significant piece at power forward or center.

Many people have speculated the Knicks will make a run at Marc Gasol next summer. While Gasol is a very good player, the Knicks will almost certainly have to pay max money to bring him over to New York. Is he worth a max contract? Probably not. He is an exceptional basketball player, but very few players in this league deserve a max contract.

Here is where Monroe comes in. Seeing that he did not seek an offer sheet from another team, it is hard to value what Greg Monroe could net in free agency. What we do know is that he is not considered a number one guy to build a team around. If he is the number two guy, he would make for a very solid complementary player.

If the Knicks want to be a good team, they need to put together an actual team, not a collection of talented individuals who don’t mesh. Monroe would give the Knicks a good, young low post scorer, which they have lacked with Amar’e Stoudemire‘s health issues. Where Monroe really excels as a player is passing the ball. Sure people will point to his 2.1 assists per game last year, ignoring his 3.5 assists the year before. But assist numbers don’t necessarily make you a good passer. You need good teammates around you to actually make the shot when you pass it to them.

Monroe can also help rebounding the basketball. Last year, the Georgetown power forward averaged 9.3 rebounds per game, something the Knicks could use after the departure of Tyson Chandler and Melo shedding some weight. While Monroe is not a great defender, he does have a long wingspan that can get in the passing lanes; he’s averaged over a steal per game for his career.

Is Monroe the perfect fit? No. He isn’t a good shooter nor a great defender. Is he at least a player that will make this team better? Absolutely. Combine Monroe’s ability to rebound and pass with his cheaper price tag, and you get a very nice fit for the Knicks. Remember, the triangle offense has always had one bad shooter of the forwards (obviously not by choice, just kind of how it’s worked out).

If the Knicks underachieve again this year, at least they will have their pick. This is where they can select a young center of the future that plays defense or can stretch the floor. There are so many big men options in the 2015 NBA Draft class that the Knicks will have no problem finding their future center.

The other thing Knick fans need to remember is the painful years it took to get to here. Cap space doesn’t grow on trees; why use it all up when you aren’t one player away? By signing Monroe to a contract at about $10 million a year, they will allow Phil Jackson to continue to improve the team through the summer of 2016. We all know Knick fans would like to see Kevin Durant in a New York jersey, but they must be patient and see the bigger picture.