Boston Celtics formally sign free-agent center Greg Monroe


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Boston Celtics have formally signed free-agent center Greg Monroe, the team announced Thursday.

Monroe, who originally agreed to sign with Boston last week after securing a buyout agreement with the Phoenix Suns, had to wait while the Celtics navigated the trade deadline before being inked to Boston’s final roster spot.

Boston did not make any moves at Thursday’s deadline, electing to sit on its treasure trove of draft assets rather than splurge on a bench upgrade.

Monroe met the Celtics in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The Georgetown product was photographed working out in Celtics gear on on the school’s campus before Boston players engaged in optional offday work.

Monroe, who will wear No. 55, could suit up as early as Thursday’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Sources previously told ESPN that Monroe would ink a one-year, $5 million contract with the Celtics. Boston utilized the disabled player exception from Gordon Hayward‘s ankle injury to sign Monroe.

Monroe averaged 11.3 points and 8 rebounds during 20 appearances for the Suns this season. The 6-foot-11 big man, the seventh overall pick of the Pistons in the 2010 NBA draft, was traded to Phoenix in November as part of a package in which the Bucks brought back Eric Bledsoe.

The Celtics, who have struggled to consistently generate second-unit offense, are expected to initially deploy Monroe off the bench while coach Brad Stevens figures out how he can maximize Monroe’s skillset. While the Celtics often like to stretch the floor with 3-point shooting bigs, Monroe’s passing skills should help him integrate with various units and Boston can lean on his post-up skills on a team that lacks back-to-the-basket threats.

In eight NBA seasons, Monroe has averaged 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. While the Celtics have been largely mum on his addition, rivals have suggested Monroe is a great pickup for a team that sits atop the Eastern Conference.

“He’s an excellent passer. He’s a low-post scorer. You have to bang with him down on the block. And [Monroe will] fit into their system as a passer,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. “You can still space out [Al] Horford and play [Monroe] down low. And [Monroe] is a very, very underrated passer. I think that’s something that, with their movement away from the ball and the splits that they have and the [dribble handoffs] that they have, another ball-handling big gives them another weapon to go with what they already have.”

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