Report: Suns considering signing Greg Monroe to an offer sheet

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Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe are easily the two best remaining free agents.

Both could play for the Suns next year.

Phoenix has the inside track on re-signing Bledsoe, even though they’re far apart in negotiations. Bledsoe, like Monroe, is a restricted free agent – meaning the Suns can match any offer he receives.

As they wait for Bledsoe to sign an offer sheet, they might put the Pistons on the clock with Monroe.

Jordan Schultz of NBC Sports Radio:

How does Monroe, a methodical big man, fit into Phoenix’s up-tempo attack? The same way Isaiah Thomas fit into a point guard rotation that already included Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Tyler Ennis.

The Suns want value where they can find it. If they can get Monroe at a price they believe falls short of his production, they probably would – and definitely should – sign him and sort out the rest later.

Phoenix has enough cap space to offer Monroe a max contract, which is likely what it would take to sign him. I can’t see him locking himself into anything less at this point, especially if it opens the door for the Pistons to match and put him back on a roster with Josh Smith.

It’s possible Monroe is worth more than his max deal, though his true value is probably a touch shy of that. If the Suns want to make an aggressive push, there’s really no downside. This late in free agency, they won’t risk losing other targets during the the three days Detroit has to match. Besides Bledsoe, there’s nobody left even near Monroe’s level.

If pressed, I think the Pistons would match. Before free agency, Stan Van Gundy said he knew how he’d handle any potential Monroe scenario. Since, though, he’s opened the door for letting Monroe walk – or at least created confusion on that front.

Andre Drummond is the Pistons’ future, and Smith remains in Detroit. Van Gundy would have to shuffle lineups, and maybe even the roster, to make Monroe fit.

But the Suns don’t offer a perfect fit, either. Their style is not conducive to Monroe, though he could work as a change of pace.

Unfortunately for Monroe, there’s no perfect option. Right now, he can just wait to see how much money Phoenix offers and then go from there.

PBT Extra: Bobby Portis punch adds to challenges for Bulls this season

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Nikola Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks due to his concussion and fractured jaw.

Bobby Portis has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for causing those injuries to Mirotic with a punch at practice.

What does this mean for a Bulls locker room that was already going to have to deal with the weight of losing a lot of games.  I get into all these questions in this latest PBT Extra.

It’s going to be a long season in Chicago.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

Associated Press
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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.