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Report: Heat Have Interest in Impending Free Agent Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe could be on the move to a different NBA team once again.

Barry Jackson of the  Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami Heat are among the teams interested in signing Monroe, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 at midnight eastern.

Monroe started the 2017-2018 season with the Milwaukee Bucks before he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in the Eric Bledose trade. Then, in late-January, Monroe had his contract bought out by the Suns, allowing him to join the Boston Celtics for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs as a backup to All-Star Al Horford.

Collectively, Monroe averaged 10.3 points , 6.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 51 regular season games with his role largely being a backup for most of the season. In 37 games off the bench, Monroe averaged 9.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. It’s likely that if the Heat were to sign Monroe, they would be looking at him in a similar role, but there are other obstacles in the way right now.

There is no way Miami will sign Monroe if it appears center Hassan Whiteside will be on the team in 2018-2019. The Heat are said to be actively trying to trade the shot blocking big man, but it won’t be easy to move Whiteside’s contract following the season he just had.

Whiteside’s minutes dipped during the regular season and especially during the playoffs because of his struggles to play within head coach Erik Spoelstra’s system. The Heat thrived when everyone was sharing the ball, and fellow centers Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo are much better passers than Whiteside. Some say Whiteside even allowed his frustrations about his minutes and role within the offense to negatively alter his performance on the defensive side of the ball, and that was evident in the playoffs based off of how he fared against Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid.

Whiteside is still owed over $52 million guaranteed on his four-year, $98 million contract with the Heat that contains an average annual salary of $24.6 million. This means that the Heat will have to likely absorb expiring contracts in-order to get Whiteside off the books, and there are no clear indications as to who will be interested in him right now.

As touched on a bit previously, the door becomes more open for a Monore signing if Whiteside is completely out of the picture, but the Heat will also evaluate other options as well, like Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, two former NBA lottery picks who are both unrestricted free agents. Jackson mentions that the Heat have a willingness to bring in former high draft picks as reclamation projects, and mentions Eddy Curry as a prime example. Greg Oden is another example you can use as well.

Heat president Pat Riley says there is a logjam with the Heat’s current roster, and there is not much flexibility for the Heat to wiggle around with right now. It should be interesting to see what moves the Heat can make, if any, this off-season. Re-signing sharpshooter Wayne Ellington is something the Heat are reportedly interested in, and Ellington is also interested in returning to the Heat.

 Photo: Christopher Evans/Boston Herald
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