Los Angeles Lakers guard Malik Monk is still in health-and-safety protocol and appears to be a bit bored. Monk has not has not played in a game since Dec. 12. He had reportedly tested out of health-and-safety protocol last Thursday, and would’ve only missed one game, but then there was a change in plans. The next day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Monk traveled with the team to Minnesota for their game against the Timberwolves but would not be able to play. There has still been no change in Monk’s status, and if he misses tonight’s game against the Spurs it will be the fifth consecutive game that he has been out.
Judging from this tweet that he sent out on Wednesday, stir crazy is starting to set in. He tweeted out “Free Me” with some unpleasant emoji faces.
Monk, the No. 11 pick overall by the Charlotte Hornets in 2017, has not provided any clarification for that tweet as speculation in the replies and quote tweets have gone wild with the idea he no longer wants to be a Laker. There are many responses to his tweet saying that he’s not that good, the Lakers won’t be any different without him, criticism him for signing a veteran minimum contract to play for the Lakers, and of course people who dislike the Lakers trying to get a rise out of the fans who do believe Monk is talking about still being in protocol.
It’s most likely that Monk has been laughing about the response to his tweet for the last 14 hours, while stewing about the fact that he has not been cleared to play. He’s playing a career-high 23.8 minutes per game for the Lakers while scoring 9.7 ppg and shooting a career-best 44.7 percent from the field. But maybe, just maybe, he watched the Lakers get thumped by the Suns on Tuesday and realized just how far his team is away from being the best in the league.
The Lakers really needed him on the court for that game. They hung around against the Suns for as long as they could in the second half, but couldn’t get the deficit any closer than five points. Then they went cold, like as cold as it feels outside when Los Angeles gets those winter rainstorms. From the 3:28 mark of the third quarter through the rest of the game, the Lakers scored only 20 points. Talen Horton-Tucker missed every single shot he took in the fourth quarter, with the corner threes he took looking so bad he appeared to literally be cold.
Monk is only shooting 36.1 percent from three on the season, but that would’ve been better than what most of the Lakers brought to the soon-to-be-named Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday night. Tucker was 0-8 from three, Carmelo Anthony was 1-4, Russell Westbrook was 0-2 and Isaiah Thomas — 10 day contract — was 0-6. The loss to the Suns was the Lakers’ third in a row.
Maybe Monk saw that game and concluded that even when Anthony Davis returns in four weeks from his knee injury that this team isn’t good enough, and he won’t be able put together the kind of performance necessary to get the kind of contract that he wants. Maybe that tweet is an ode to 2017-18 Eric Bledsoe.
I doubt it. I highly doubt it. I want to say there’s no way he feels that, but it can’t be denied that the tweet is cryptic and he’s done nothing to make it more clear.