NBA Rumors: The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly keeping their eye on incoming free-agents Greg Monroe and Jimmy Butler, with Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today reporting that the Lakers might be willing to offer max money for the service of these young players.
The Lakers are expected to be on a ?shopping spree? next offseason, when they have roughly $35M in cap space to spend, via Lakers Nation.
With several top-flight players set to hit the market, the Lakers have a wide selection of free-agent targets, however Monroe and Butler emerge as the most intriguing options because of their solid performances in the final year of their rookie contracts.
In their latest column on USA Today, Zillgitt and Amick believe the Lakers are among teams willing to invest big money for Monroe and Butler, who both are putting up strong numbers this season.
After banking on his perimeter defense the past couple of years, Butler?s growth on the offensive end of the floor has turned him into one of the best two-way players in the league.
The Bulls have already made lucrative, long-term commitment with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, putting them in tight position with regards to re-signing a surefire max player in Butler.
?A strong perimeter defender, Butler has blossomed into the Bulls? best offensive player and an All-Star, averaging 20.6 points. Teams are going to offer a max deal (hello, Los Angeles Lakers), and the Bulls would be hard-pressed not to match,? according to Amick.
Meanwhile, Monroe?s decision to forego free-agency for another year is finally paying off, thanks to the departure of Josh Smith. After the Pistons waived Smith, Monroe have begun racking up big numbers (14.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, according to ESPN Stat) and become one of the focal leaders of Detroit?s resurgence this season.
According to Zillgitt, Monroe?s recent strong showing could guarantee him a pretty nice windfall when he becomes an unrestricted free-agent next summer. Staying put in Detroit remains a possibility for Monroe, although several big market teams, the New York Knicks, Miami Heat and the Lakers, are already expressing their desire to add the 24-year old power forward.
?Whether Monroe gets a true max or not, he?s going to receive a lucrative deal, and the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks are among the possible suitors,? according to USA Today.
Image Credits:? Greg Monroe By? Chiuchiu11 [Flickr images uploaded by Flickr upload bot (CC-BY-SA-2.0)] – Wikimedia Commons