If there’s one thing we know about the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s that they aren’t a team that’s shy about making trades. If things aren’t working, the team will review all options available to upgrade their roster. Maximizing what is left of LeBron James’ prime and giving him reason to stay has always been a priority. So when a player becomes available on the trade market, the Cavs will inevitably take a look at what it costs to bring them over.
With the Phoenix Suns looking to tank, they have little interest in retaining Greg Monroe. In his weekly mailbag, Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon indicated that the Cavs may have an interest in Monroe if he’s on the trade market:
The Cavs don’t currently view Jahlil Okafor as a fit. As for Greg Monroe, the interest in him would be higher, sources indicated to me. Monroe is 6-11 and 265 pounds, but he isn’t really a shot blocker (which Cleveland lacks). He’s a scorer (though, this season, he’s averaging just 6.8 points per game). The Cavs, though flawed, have a crowded rotation already, so pursuing Monroe in any way would probably follow or coincide with other roster changes.
Monroe was incredibly effective last season for the Bucks coming off the bench. With long defenders surrounding him, Monroe was able to give the team that struggled at times defensively a consistent threat in the post. The team actually preformed better offensively and defensively with him on the floor for the season, sporting a nice +6.9 net rating on the year.
While the prospect of adding Monroe is interesting, it would be another piece that doesn’t necessarily fit. The Cavs haven’t had the same perimeter spacing as past seasons, leading to more minutes from Kevin Love at center. In addition to that, Monroe is out until the end of November with a calf strain, giving him a similar timetable to Tristan Thompson. While he’s an average rebounder, his poor defense and lack of ability to space the floor isn’t ideal for this team.
If the Cavs want to try more minutes with a traditional center, they may be better off trying to develop Ante Zizic. The team clearly doesn’t prioritize regular season wins, so playing Zizic and getting him used to the game may be more productive than using assets to add another player that fits awkwardly with this team. Zizic has shown that he has defensive upside and is fairly coordinated for a player that is as young and tall as he is.
I can see the team being interested in Monroe if he’s bought out or if the price is low enough. However with his salary of over $17 million million this season, even matching salary in a deal would be tough to do without giving up too much.