The Los Angeles Lakers could lose their top 2022 free agent, Malik Monk, to an in-state rival.
This past season was pretty much an unmitigated disaster for the Lakers. Despite being a couple of seasons removed from winning an NBA title, and adding former league MVP Russell Westbrook to the already dominant duo of Lebron James and Anthony Davis, the team could not even reach the NBA Play-In Tournament in May.
The team was hit with notable injuries to Davis and James, while Westbrook was not a good fit for former head coach Frank Vogel’s system, and he ended up having one of the worst seasons of his 14-year career. However, despite it all, there was one notable bright spot in 2021-2022, and that was five-year veteran Malik Monk.
Until this season, the eleventh pick overall in the 2017 NBA Draft was viewed as a solid player that had fallen well short of the potential that Charlotte Hornets saw in him when they made him their top pick that year. However, this past season Monk was one of the few players Vogel and James could rely on to deliver consistently good performances throughout the season.
Sacramento Kings targeting Los Angeles Lakers top free agent
This past season, the Lakers gave Monk a boatload of minutes and he returned the favor with career highs in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and assists. The best season of his NBA tenure came at just the right time because on Thursday he will become an unrestricted free agent, and the 24-year-old will have quite a few interested suitors on the open market. One new report claims that the Lakers’ biggest competition to try and re-sign Monk may come from another team in California.
- Malik Monk stats (2021-2022): 13.8 PPG, 3.4 REB, 2.9 AST, .473 FG%
During a Thursday morning podcast appearance with veteran NBA insider Marc Stein, Bleacher Report NBA insider Jake Fischer revealed that there’s mutual interest between Monk and the Kings heading into the start of NBA Free Agency at 6 PM ET today.
The Lakers have very limited options in what they can offer any free agents this summer. Meaning they will be hard-pressed to retain Monk’s services unless they can offload other contracts via trade soon. In the end, it may not be a matter of if, but when and where Monk decides to leave to in the coming days.