After signing him to a minimum-salary contract a year ago, the Lakers will be limited in their ability to offer Malik Monk a raise in free agency this summer, but the shooting guard told Jovan Buha of The Athletic that he’s not closing the door on the idea of accepting a “hometown” discount to stay in Los Angeles.
“Money is always a part, man, but I don’t think it’s the biggest priority in my free agency this year,” Monk said. “It’s me feeling like I’m having a home and I can go out there and do the same things I did this year.
“… They might not be able to pay me as much as I want,” Monk said of the Lakers. “But I could be here and be way more comfortable as a Laker than going to any other team and they’re paying me $5 million more. So it’s just me trying to figure out what team would really want me.”
Monk, who earned approximately $1.79M as a Laker in 2021-22, enjoyed a career year with his new team after spending four seasons in Charlotte. He established new career highs in PPG (13.8), RPG (3.4), APG (2.9) and FG% (.473) and was arguably L.A.’s most dangerous three-point threat, making 2.3 threes per game at a 39.1% rate.
Because the Lakers only hold his Non-Bird rights, they wouldn’t be able to offer him more than about $2.53M without dipping in to their mid-level exception. Even then, given their cap situation, the Lakers will likely only have the taxpayer MLE ($6.39M) at their disposal rather than the full version. According to Buha, multiple league sources believe Monk could get $10M-$12M per year on the open market.
While Monk “loved” playing for the Lakers, according to his brother Marcus, and is open to the idea of taking a team-friendly deal to stick around, he intends to consider all his options when he becomes a free agent this week.
“I definitely would still want to evaluate things,” Monk told Buha. “You never know what happens. Some other team could come in and hopefully tell me the same thing and maybe I get a little bit more minutes on that team. So it’s just actually me being presented and being able to go out there and do what I do is a priority. That’s the biggest priority: A team that’s just going to let me come in and be myself.”