For large swaths of the 2021-22 NBA season Malik Monk was the third best player on the Los Angeles Lakers behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
When one of those two was out – he was at times their second best player.
For the year, Monk averaged a career-high 13.8 points (on 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc), 3.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Best of all, he did it on a remarkably cost-effective $1.7 million salary.
Now, as a free agent, Monk will surely command more this time around. The Lakers cannot afford to pay him his market value – no matter how much they want to.
This week Monk discussed whether he would be open to taking less money from L.A. in order to remain with the purple and gold.
“They might not be able to pay me as much as I want,” Monk said, per Jovan Buha of 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.”
For now, Monk is in wait and see mode.
“I definitely would still want to evaluate things,” Monk said. “You never know what happens. Some other team could come in and hopefully tell me the same thing and maybe I get a little bit more minutes on that team. So it’s just actually me being presented and being able to go out there and do what I do is a priority.
“That’s the biggest priority: A team that’s just going to let me come in and be myself.”
Monk has been pretty honest about his Lakers future up to this point.
There are currently 4 teams out there actively interested in bringing him onboard for next season. Where he will ultimately end up is up to him.
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 26, 2022
Monk was a legit difference-maker in 2021-22.
Will history repeat itself in 2022-23?
Time will tell.