A new report indicates that Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Malik Monk may be willing to take less money in order to remain with the team.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic looked at Monk’s status as he enters free agency while coming off the best season of his five-year NBA career.
“They might not be able to pay me as much as I want,” Monk said in an exclusive interview with The Athletic. “But I could be here and be way more comfortable as a Laker than going to any other team and they’re paying me $5 million more. So it’s just me trying to figure out what team would really want me.”
Monk reportedly could earn anywhere from $10 to $12 million if he chose to test his value on the open market. Right now, the most the Lakers can pay him for next year is roughly $6.3 million, which is the team’s taxpayer mid-level exception.
One of the reasons why Monk feels such loyalty toward the Lakers is because the team was the first to call him after he became a free agent last year. In addition, the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks were the only two teams to actually offer him a contract.
Despite the extreme disappointment that surrounded last season’s edition of the Lakers, Monk managed to put up career-best averages in multiple categories. Those numbers included 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.
Monk also started in 37 of his 76 games for the Lakers after starting in just one game during his four previous seasons with the Charlotte Hornets.
The Lakers don’t have much wiggle room when it comes to their salary cap, so they’re presumably ecstatic about Monk’s apparent willingness to accept what amounts to a hometown discount.
Monk is just 24 years old and has never been involved in a deep playoff run during his NBA career. If the Lakers are able to avoid the injuries that devastated them last year and also address other concerns, Monk could finally be on a team challenging for an NBA title.