How do we explain the 76ers signing Monroe and releasing Patton?

The 76ers intend to sign Greg Monroe to a contract for the remainder of the NBA season. The 28 year old 6’11” Monroe will be joining his sixth NBA team. As a player, he compares closely with Jahlil Okafor because of his advanced offensive skillset in the deep post but also for his relative struggles defensively. 

To make room on the roster for Monroe, the team will waive Justin Patton. 

At first blush this may seem like a confusing signing. Monroe doesn’t offer much upgrade over Amir Johnson or Boban Marjanovic. Looking at the list of Monroe’s former teams, however, may give clues into the reasoning for bringing him on at this point. 

Justin Patton is young, at just 21 years of age, but was slated to become a free agent in July since the Timberwolves had declined his option for 2019/20. Well liked by his teammates, Justin has a bright future in basketball. 

At 7’0″ and good mobility for his size, Patton is a former first round pick who spent the early part of this season recovering from foot surgery. He returned in February and played 11 games in Delaware and 3 games for the 76ers. 

The Sixers have yet to discuss this publicly to give their reasoning for the transaction, but as of now, this looks to be more of a scouting and intelligence based transaction than a talent or upside based move.