NBA Rumors: Why Pelicans Lead Celtics In Chase For Greg Monroe After Buyout

Phoenix Suns center Greg Monroe

Photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

Greg Monroe is more likely to go home than to Boston for his next NBA adventure.

The New Orleans Pelicans lead the race to sign the free-agent center, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday, citing NBA sources. Monroe spoke with Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry on Wednesday night after the Phoenix Suns bought out the remainder of his contract, and New Orleans reportedly will pursue the 27-year-old aggressively until he decides on his next move.

The Pelicans are looking to fill the void left by DeMarcus Cousins, who recently suffered a season-ending injury. They can offer Monroe plenty of playing time and the opportunity for the Louisiana native to represent his hometown team, both of which appeal to Monroe, according to Wojnarowski’s sources.

The Boston Celtics reportedly also are interested in Monroe and can offer him more money than New Orleans for the rest of the season due to their $8.4 million disabled player exception from Gordon Hayward’s injury.

The San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards are joining the hunt for Monroe, as well, according to TNT’s David Aldridge.

Monroe will become an unrestricted free agent at 5 p.m. ET on Friday once he clears waivers.  Wojnarowski’s sources expect him to decide on his new team Friday or Saturday.

UPDATE (2 p.m. ET): The Pelicans created an open roster spot for Monroe on Thursday afternoon, reportedly sending a 2018 protected first-round pick, center Omer Asik and guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson to the Chicago Bulls in a trade to acquire forward Nikola Mirotic.

New Orleans still is pursuing Monroe following the reported trade, per Wojnarowski, and now has a vacancy at center after Asik’s departure.

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