Former Celtics big man Greg Monroe signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Raptors Monday, officially ruling out a return to the Celtics of any kind.
Monroe joined the Celtics during the regular season after reaching a buyout agreement with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns acquired Monroe in the Eric Bledsoe trade with Milwaukee, and the Celtics used part of their Disabled Player Exception to sign Monroe.
Monroe will join a Raptors team hoping to make a run to the NBA Finals following LeBron James' departure from the eastern conference and adding Kawhi Leonard via trade. It's likely the Celtics will see plenty of Monroe in the regular season and possibly the playoffs.
There was never any real reported interest from the Celtics in terms of bringing back Monroe. The team elected to bring back Aron Baynes on a two-year contract and also took Robert Williams in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Kawhi Leonard has been traded to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan. How do both players feel about the trade? Who got the better end of the deal?
Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio and apparently he's getting his wish.
However, he's not too excited about where he's going.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Haynes reported early Wednesday morning that the Spurs "are finalizing a deal [to send Leonard to the Toronto Raptors] in a trade package that includes All-Star DeMar DeRozan." And, according to the report: "Leonard and DeRozan are both aware that an agreement could be imminent, and neither is expressing enthusiasm for the deal, league sources said."
Leonard's well-documented frayed relations with the Spurs led to San Antonio pursuing potential deals for the perennial All-Star, but his desire to sign with the Lakers (or, failing that, the Clippers) as a free agent next offseason depressed the trade market. The Celtics were interested in Leonard -- and, in fact, made an offer to San Antonio at last year's trade deadline -- but, knowing there was more than a good chance he'd be a one-year rental, were reportedly unwilling to part with with any of their key players. Nor were the Sixers, another rumored landing spot for Leonard. According to sources, both Boston and Philly made offers that were built around draft picks and not current talent, which didn't interest the Spurs.
With this rumored deal, San Antonio gets an All-Star who'd be under team control for a while: He has three years and $83 million left on his contract, including an Early Termination Option for the 2020-21 season. And Toronto, which finished with the best record in the East last year but was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, now muscles its way back into contention for the Eastern Conference title, which was assumed to have become a two-team battle between the Celtics and 76ers.
At least for a year, anyway.