Jan 19, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Phoenix Suns center Greg Monroe (14) is stretched out before the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.  Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns and Greg Monroe have reached an agreement on a buyout, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adds that there will be “significant interest” around the league in signing Monroe to a rest-of-the-season contract once he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The timing of the deal is a bit peculiar with the trade deadline about a week away, but Bordow surmises that a worthy deal likely wouldn’t have materialized for Monroe anyway, so the timing really didn’t matter to Phoenix. Wojnarowski adds that the Suns did in fact exhaust all trade possibilities before agreeing to the buyout.

Monroe, who was sent to the Suns earlier this season in the move that landed Eric Bledsoe in Milwaukee, had seen inconsistent minutes since arriving in Phoenix, with Tyson Chandler and Alex Len also vying for minutes at the five. Monroe has been viewed as a candidate to be traded or bought out since the Suns acquired him — a trade would have been challenging due to his $17.88MM cap hit.

Earlier in the evening, John Gambadoro of ArizonaSports.com opined that a buyout could be forthcoming after Monroe was not in attendance for tonight’s game against Dallas. Multiple sources indicate that the Celtics, who possess an $8.4MM disabled player exceptionare a team to watch in the Monroe sweepstakes, with Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports reporting that the interest is expected to be mutual.

Helping Boston is the fact that its disabled player exception – acquired as a result of the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward – does not prorate throughout the season. As detailed by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, this is different from the mid-level exception that most teams would utilize to offer Monroe a salary over the minimum.

In addition to the Celtics, another team said to be interested in Monroe is the Pelicans, per Bordow. New Orleans is in a position to make the playoffs and just lost All-Star DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the season. Moreover, a potential deal for Nikola Mirotic just fell through after New Orleans refused to guarantee Mirotic’s 2018/19 salary.

New Orleans is over the cap and wouldn’t be able to offer a free agent more than the prorated portion of the bi-annual exception — even that would be tricky due to the team’s hard cap and tax ramifications. Still, Monroe is from the New Orleans area, so the Pelicans may be hoping that he is willing to take some sort of hometown discount. In addition, New Orleans could offer him a starting position, while the Celtics would almost certainly bring him off the bench.

The Thunder could also be a dark horse in the Monroe sweepstakes, according to Mannix. Meanwhile, the Bucks are ineligible to re-sign Monroe after trading him earlier in the league year.

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This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Greg Monroe
TEAMS: Phoenix Suns
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