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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Greg Monroe would be a nice fit for Celtics

By MIKE SHALIN
November 10. 2017 1:45AM
Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe spins for the basket during the fourth quarter of an Oct. 26 game against the Boston Celtics at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as the MECCA. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Greg Monroe has played in 25 games against the Celtics, 15 as a starter. He has averaged 16.0 points, the second-most points he’s scored against any team, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists against Boston.

The 27-year-old big man would look pretty good in a Boston uniform.

Making that happen could be complicated, but not undoable.

Monroe, on the books for $17.9 million this season, was shipped to the Phoenix Suns the other day as Eric Bledsoe was finally let out of his personal hell and sent to Milwaukee. The Suns don’t need Monroe and Monroe wants to play for a winner. The Suns would prefer to trade him and you’d have to think there is value to be had. If they can’t find it, they’ll buy him out.

The Celtics, who have an $8.4 million exemption for the Gordon Hayward injury, should find a way to make this happen.

Wednesday night, we all saw Aron Baynes have a very good game against the Lakers. And Daniel Theis was again strong off the bench. Neither of these guys is Monroe, a quality inside presence in a 3-point-shooting league.

He is averaging 14.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season. He COULD make the Celtics a contender, even without Hayward — OK, we’re dreaming because the Warriors are still looming — but this move would make the Celtics, winners of 10 straight, even better.

Just a thought. And the Celtics could lose out if the Suns get a better offer.

Just keep rolling

The Celtics go for 11 in a row when the defensively challenged Charlotte Hornets visit tonight. The Hornets have allowed 113.3 points per 100 possessions in dropping the first three games of their four-game road trip but they do get back Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a key defensive cog.

The Celtics never really know who they’ll have, adding Jayson Tatum to their injury list Wednesday. Al Horford? He’s out again tonight. Tatum is questionable (ankle).

Danny Ainge told 98.5 WBZ FM he didn’t think Horford’s concussion was as bad as last year’s, which cost him nine games. After Wednesday’s game, coach Brad Stevens said: “Until we have only four (players) left, I guess we’re just going to keep playing. And then I don’t know what you do at four, but keep playing. Most importantly, and I don’t want to make light, the most important (thing) is those guys get back healthy.”

If you want to look ahead, the Celtics continue their very tough stretch with three games in four days, starting Sunday at home against Toronto, then going to Brooklyn Tuesday and hosting the champion Warriors Wednesday.

Lakers coach Luke Walton on Tatum: “He just seems to really have a great way about him. A lot of young players come in and they try to rush and force things and they get sped up. He seems to just be playing at a nice, comfortable pace when he’s out there.”

First impressions

Lonzo Ball’s father has put him in an extremely difficult situation, LaVar Ball’s big mouth and the kid backing his dad has led to loud booing everywhere the younger Ball plays. He heard it during the introductions and every time he touched the ball Wednesday.

He doesn’t deserve it, but that’s the life his dad and his expensive shoes have created for him.

“I’ve been getting booed every time I go away,” he said after the game.

As far as what I saw Wednesday, this kid has tremendous speed and does a lot of things well. He blocked four shots in the loss and did his best to keep up with Kyrie Irving, not an easy task for even the most seasoned veteran.

“He’s a great player,” Ball said of Irving. “I said it before the game: ’One of the best in this league. It’s a tough player and you’ve got to stay in front of him.”’

After the game, Marcus Morris says he told Ball he’s pulling for him, “Because he’s a good kid. It’s just his dad, like, his dad has a big mouth. I mean, everybody knows it. It’s not a bad thing.”

Now, about that shooting, that horrible shooting. He is hitting 29.5 percent from the floor, the second-lowest percentage of any player (minimum 100 field goal attempts) in his first 11 games as a pro.

The release doesn’t look like a winner, but Ball said, “It’s just in my head. I know I can shoot the ball.”

Movin’ on up

Dana Levangie has paid his dues and has moved out of the bullpen to the pitching coach job with the Red Sox — after Alex Cora made it clear he wanted to keep him as part of the staff rebuild.

Levangie deserves the chance. But here’s the thing: The Red Sox have a manager and pitching and batting coaches who are all rookies. Could this be a problem?

We don’t know what Levangie will make, but whatever salary he gets will be boosted because he is now one of the four coaches who receive MLB licensing money and also qualifies for a pension — along with the players and managers. Good for him!

Jerry Remy celebrated his birthday as he continues his battle with cancer. He tweeted this week: “Surgery done. Chemo done. Now on to radiation. The end of a long process is in sight. Feeling good.”

Also feeling good is Dennis Eckersley, who welcomed his old boss back to Boston. Posing for a restaurant picture with Tony La Russa, Eck tweeted, “Reunited and it feels so good.” Welcome to Boston, @TonyLaRussa”

Luis Tiant gets his latest shot at the Hall of Fame, tweeting, “Thank you to all my friends and best fans in the world the @RedSox fans for the support of the recent news that I am again on the @baseballhall ballot #fingerscrossed”

Miller time

Von Miller says he loves going against the best in the game and he’ll do that again when he faces Tom Brady Sunday night in Denver.

“I like going against the best … and having success against the best,” he said. “I like going against the best and having great games against the best. It’s different if you just go against anybody. It’s not the same. But if you go against the best and you have success against the best that’s what this league is all about. That’s what makes the game great.”

Martellus Bennett redux? Sure. Makes sense and the waiver claim was put in Thursday. Asked earlier in the day about what it was like to work with Bennett, Bill Belichick said, “I think I’ve spoken about that numerous times last year. Stacey (PR director James) — I’m sure we have transcripts of that. I can’t imagine (we don’t). I must be on the record talking about him 100 times.”

Band-aids needed

Here’s a simple fact: The Bruins, who start a home-and-home with the Maple Leafs in Toronto tonight, weren’t deep enough to start with. Trying to win with this pasted-together roster makes them mediocre at best.

Consider this: Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, two of their four top offensive players, have played a total of two periods together this season. And many feel Bergeron hasn’t fully recovered from the lower body injury that cost him the first five games.

Proper tributes

Moronic comments of a local radio host aside (we won’t dignify the words here), the tributes continued pouring in for Roy Halladay after his plane crash death.

Catcher Gregg Zaun: “It was my mental day off each time he pitched.”

Ryan Howard: “Such a sad day. We lost a great ballplayer but an even better human being.”

Dan Haren: “I wanted to be Roy Halladay. I’m heartbroken. Rest easy, Doc.”

Here and there

Yasiel Puig on not winning a Gold Glove: “I’m coming back for what I deserve next year.” … Teammates Trey Flowers (wearing Lakers shirt) and Devin McCourty went at it over Celtics-Lakers Wednesday, McCourty predicting 40 for Irving. … Roy Halladay pitched 67 complete games. ... I like the young and athletic Lakers and don’t think they’ll be in that 2-5 draft spot that would send their pick to Boston. … Broadcasters David Cone and John Flaherty have tossed their caps into the Yankees managerial ring. Brian Cashman has a reported 20-25 candidates on his list. … Finally, the Red Sox’ Winter Weekend at Foxwoods is Jan. 19-21. … Rick Pitino is in trouble.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


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