Malik Monk Reportedly Set to Become FA After Hornets Decline Qualifying Offer

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2021

Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk stands on the court in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

The Charlotte Hornets have reportedly declined a $7 million qualifying offer to shooting guard Malik Monk for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hornets are going to let Monk become an unrestricted free agent. 

Monk, who averaged a career-best 11.7 points in 42 games last season, has mostly struggled to reach expectations across his first four NBA seasons since the Hornets selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft.

The 23-year-old University of Kentucky product averaged 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 43.4 percent from the field across 55 games during the 2019-20 campaign. He ranked 106th out of 138 qualified shooting guards in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus.

After the Hornets selected Connecticut shooting guard James Bouknight with the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, Monk would have been a superfluous piece on the roster. 

In October 2019, Monk explained his growth as a player needed to start with becoming more aggressive offensively.

"I was being way too passive, thinking way too much, trying to get other people involved," he told reporters. "I've just got to attack and the game will come to me. Me attacking will open up passing lanes and everything for everybody else. So I've just got to keep doing that."

A major concern in prior years was a lack of three-point efficiency.

Monk averaged 2.7 threes while shooting 39.7 percent from beyond the arc during his only collegiate season with the Wildcats. He entered last season with a career three-point percentage of 32.2, but he showcased significant progress in 2020-21, shooting 40.1 percent from deep.

That improvement provided a glimpse of the untapped potential the dynamic guard still possesses. He hasn't developed quite as quickly as the Hornets hoped, but he's still in his early 20s with a chance to carve out a long, successful career in the NBA.

Monk is now set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason with Charlotte opting against the qualifying offer, which would have made him a restricted free agent and given the team the right to match any offer sheet he received.

It'll be interesting to see how much interest he receives on the free-agent market. He could be an under-the-radar target for a contender that's seeking an offensive-minded upgrade for its bench, and he may still grow into a larger role over time.