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Eastern Conference contender signs Greg Monroe to one-year deal

GiveMeSport | Updated: 2018-08-15 15:45:09

To say the least, Greg Monroe had a tumultuous 2017-2018 NBA season.

He spent his first five games of the year with the Milwaukee Bucks, but played a minimal role, averaging 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 15.8 minutes as a reserve off the bench.

Then, he was dealt to the Phoenix Suns as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. There, due to his hefty salary and with an expiring contract, he was treated as a potential trade chip. Receiving many nights off for maintenance and injury-preventative reasons, he put up 11.3 points and 8.0 boards in 23.3 minutes over 20 contests.

The Suns were unable to find a trade partner, so they eventually bought out his contract midway through the regular season. He then quickly joined the Boston Celtics as a free agent and played an offensive-oriented, high-usage role off the bench for the rest of the regular season, averaging 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 19.1 minutes over 26 games.

But, his minutes were cut even more in the playoffs, where he played just 9.5 minutes per contest in 11 games. He put up 4.8 points and 3.2 boards in his limited opportunities and found himself on the bench more often than not.

As an unrestricted free agent this summer, Monroe found himself in an odd spot. Entering his ninth NBA season, the 6’11”, 265-pound big man is a proven talent, as indicated by his career averages of 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 28.9 minutes. But, coming off of last season, he will likely need to prove himself once again.

On Tuesday, he signed a contract with the Toronto Raptors. Although the team did not release the terms of the deal, it was reported elsewhere that it is a one-year deal worth $2.2 million.

Judging by the words of Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, it seems like Monroe might be in store for an important role in the upcoming campaign.

Potential difference-maker

“Greg is a proven big man in this league,” Webster said in an official team press release. “We believe Greg’s experience will be a great addition to not only our frontcourt, but to our team culture as we continue to build towards our goal of an NBA championship.”

Monroe will join Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam as Toronto’s "true" big men. It remains to be seen if new coach Nick Nurse will implement a similar strategy that Dwane Casey had in regards to featuring small-ball lineups.

If not, there’s a strong chance that Monroe backs up Valanciunas and takes on a high-usage role on Toronto’s second unit, which would most likely be his best chance to make a strong impact on a contending team.

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