One could argue that of all of the budget signings the Lakers were forced to make last summer after trading for Russell Westbrook, Malik Monk was the only one that paid dividends throughout the season. The former lottery pick posted a career high in points per game (13.8) and field-goal percentage (47.3%). With Anthony Davis sidelined for much of the season, Monk was at times the Lakers second best offensive option.
After signing on a veteran minimum "prove it" contract last season and excelling, Monk now has the opportunity to cash in on his value. Which could prove problematic for the Lakers if they want to retain the guard since, at the moment, the team only has $6.4M to offer him.
But according to a recent interview with The Athletic, Monk is willing to consider taking a pay cut to stay in Los Angeles.
“They might not be able to pay me as much as I want. But I could be here and be way more comfortable as a Laker than going to any other team (that would pay) me $5 million more. So it’s just me trying to figure out what team would really want me.”
His brother Marcus, who doubles as his agent, sounded hopeful that a new contract can be reached with the Lakers.
“He loved it here. He wants to be a Laker. But you can’t have conversations with the Lakers at this point in time because he’s unrestricted. So once those conversations start happening, hopefully, they see it the same. … We’re very loyal people. We’re very thankful for the opportunity that this organization gave him. And we don’t take those things lightly.”
It's great to see the Monks speak so highly of the Lakers, but Lakers fans will find out soon enough whether or not the guard is willing to take substantially less in free agency when it begins this Thursday.