Lakers Free-Agency 2014: LA Eyes Kevin Durant in 2016, Kevin Love in 2015 and Greg Monroe in 2014
By Lou Ramon Aguila | May 16, 2014 11:36 AM EST
The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly in the run for incoming free-agent Greg Monroe, whose tenure with the Detroit Pistons seemed to have ended with the arrival of head coach Stan Van Gundy.
NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves
The Lakers emerged among the candidates to get Monroe's service this offseason given their significant cap room and their need to fill in the hole at the power forward and center position.
"The Lakers are the other team most frequently mentioned among league executives when it comes to Monroe. If L.A. does not make any splashy moves around the draft, and if the Lakers are ready to concede that Carmelo Anthony is not coming, then they figure to target young, second-tier free agents and Monroe is at the head of that list," Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported.
Despite averaging 14 points and 9 boards per game last season, Monroe appears to be headed into a divorce with his current team because Van Gundy is expected to pick rising star Andre Drummond as the centerpiece of the Pistons' roster, according to a general manager.
"There are two things that made that job better for Stan," the GM said via Sporting News. "One is the fact that he gets to make personnel decisions, that is a big deal of course. But the other is Andre Drummond. If you want to build your team around a young player, Drummond is the guy.
"You're not going to build around both him and Monroe, they had too much trouble making that work. You pick Drummond and move on from Monroe."
However, many NBA insiders believe Monroe will still pocket big money, given the rarity of skillful big men in the league. Though he took a step back last season, Monroe is still considered a player capable of putting up at least 20 points and 10 boards in a nightly basis.
With Pau Gasol heading for an exit from Hollywood, the 23-year old Monroe is a solid replacement at the power forward/center position. The young big men will be just one of several incoming free-agents (Lance Stephenson, Eric Bledsoe and Kyle Lowry) who could suit up the purple-and-gold uniform next season.
In addition, the Lakers are also expected to make a strong push for Kevin Love in 2015, and perhaps bid for the service of Kevin Durant when his current contract expires in 2016.
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