Charlotte Hornets, NBA Free Agency

Malik Monk open for business after Hornets don’t tender qualifying offer

The Charlotte Hornets didn’t tender a qualifying offer to Malik Monk, setting the former lottery pick up to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.

Sunday was the deadline for NBA teams to tender qualifying offers to restricted free agents. The Charlotte Hornets tendered a qualifying offer to guard Devonte Graham, but they did not do the same to guard Malik Monk.

Monk, the 11th overall pick by Charlotte in the 2017 draft out of Kentucky, will now be an unrestricted free agent. The Hornets added to an already deep backcourt by taking James Bouknight with the 11th pick in last week’s draft. So Monk effectively became the odd-man-out. Tendering a $7-plus million qualifying offer would have allowed them to match any offers from other teams.

Malik Monk may find a surprisingly good market for his services

Over his first three NBA seasons, Monk made just 32.2 percent of his 3-pointers with a low-point in 2019-20 (28.4 percent). But this past season he found something, converting just over 40 percent from beyond the arc as he averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game over 42 appearances off the bench (20.9 minutes per game). He also tied his career-best field goal percentage (43.4 percent) and made close to 82 percent of his free throws.

Monk falls short on the defensive end, so he’s not a “3 and D” wing. But his nearly 12 percent improvement as a 3-pointer shooter last season, on more volume (5.0 attempts per game) than 2019-20 (3.7 attempts per game), will surely garner attention as he hits the open market. In terms of sustainability of that improvement, Basketball-Reference’s data shows Monk was substantially better on corner 3s last season (57.6 percent; 27.3 percent in 2019-20) with a slight down-tick in the percentage of his attempts from the corners.

Monk won’t break the bank with his free-agent deal. But any team looking for shooting off the bench should have him on their radar.

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