After word broke that veteran big man Greg Monroe reached a buyout with the Phoenix Suns, many assumed that the former top-10 NBA Draft pick would return “home” to Louisiana, where he grew up, to join the New Orleans Pelicans. However, word broke from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Friday afternoon that Monroe is making a different choice and joining the Boston Celtics.
New Orleans would provide a more direct path to playing time, especially in the wake of the injury to DeMarcus Cousins. With that said, the Celtics had both the opportunity to win on a grander scale and the ability to pull an “ace in the hole” in the form of more compensation.
Boston was in position to use the injured player exception generated with Gordon Hayward’s absence and that seemingly proved pivotal in this case. Over eight NBA seasons, Monroe has averaged 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and he will provide some useful offensive punch to a Celtics front line that, beyond Al Horford, is not overflowing with talent at the center position on that end of the floor.
As for the Pelicans, this is a significant blow but, with Nikola Mirotic joining Anthony Davis, New Orleans should be able to stay afloat despite the absence of Cousins.