Malik Monk, Lakers Reportedly Agree to Contract in Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2021

Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk (1) drives to the basket against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

Shooting guard Malik Monk reportedly signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

The 23-year-old has never quite lived up to being the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He did average career highs in points (11.7 PPG) and three-point percentage (40.1 percent) in the 2020-21 season, though he appeared in just 42 games this past season after dealing with injuries. 

So much of Monk's future will be contingent on whether his three-point shooting from this past season was his new normal or an outlier. He was not good from beyond the arc in his first three seasons, and he is just 33.9 percent from deep for his career. 

If he can shoot at a high level, however, he can be a microwave scorer off the bench for the Lakers. That's a valuable role. 

It's not one that the Hornets valued, though, as the team chose not to extend a qualifying offer to him this season. Had they done so, they could have matched any offers he received as a restricted free agent. Instead, he hit unrestricted free agency. 

The Hornets moving on was at least partially about their full complement of guards. The team is building around young players LaMelo Ball and rookie James Bouknight, while veteran Terry Rozier remains a key part of the team's core. Monk likely wouldn't have had a major role this upcoming season. 

That said, if the Hornets believed he was a valuable contributor, they at least would have extended him a qualifying offer. The Lakers, who are trying to surround LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook with as many shooters as possible this offseason, are hoping Monk can take the next step as a player who can provide instant offense off the bench in the vein of a Lou Williams.