NBA Rumors: Raptors Interested in Greg Monroe After Trading for Kawhi Leonard

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19:  Greg Monroe #55 of the Boston Celtics shoots a free throw against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 19, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

As they look to sign a backup center behind Jonas Valanciunas, the Toronto Raptors have Greg Monroe on their list of targets, TSN's Josh Lewenberg reported Saturday.

Monroe split last season between the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics. He averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Toronto sent Jakob Poeltl to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the Kawhi Leonard trade, so the Raptors have a clear hole at center. Playing Serge Ibaka or Pascal Siakam out of position are their only options to spell Valanciunas.

Lewenberg noted, however, Monroe wouldn't be an ideal addition because his defense close to the basket leaves something to be desired.

According to NBA.com, opponents shot 61.5 percent inside six feet against Monroe. By comparison, Poeltl allowed opponents to shoot 51.2 percent inside six feet.

While Monroe is a solid scorer and rebounder, he could leave the Raptors exposed in the paint defensively. Valanciunas has his own problems on defense. Opposing teams can exploit the 26-year-old by pulling him away from the basket and switching him oto athletic guards.

Toronto isn't in a position to be picky, though. Monroe is one of the best centers available, and he'd likely settle for the $5.3 million mid-level exception—the only avenue through which the cash-strapped Raptors can make another big signing.

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