ESPNs Chris Broussard is reporting that Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis is opting out of the final year of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Ellis was poised to earn about $11 million next year for the Bucks.
Sources: Monte Ellis has told Bucks he is opting out of the 1-year, $11 million left on his contract. Will become coveted free agent
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 17, 2013
Monta Ellis also reportedly turned down a contract extension last week as well for at least 2 years in Milwaukee. Obviously Ellis is not very interested in playing for the Bucks, but more importantly thinks he can make more money over more years somewhere else. Should Los Angeles be that somewhere else?
The Lakers and Clippers will both be heavily involved in free agency starting July 1st, and they do not know whether they will be able to re-sign top free agents Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Replacing them will be difficult, and Monta Ellis is the next best scorer available in free agency.
Ellis is one of a few player to crack the Top 5 in NBA scoring average for a season not named James, Bryant, Durant, Anthony, and Nowitzki. He averaged as many as 25 points a game between ’09-’11. He is a freak athlete at only 6’3” too.
If I am either the Lakers or Clippers I am very skeptical that he can be part of a winning team though. Ellis has only been past the first round of the NBA playoffs once, when he was in Golden State as the sixth man. He is an inefficient scorer who is a liability on defense.
Ellis needs to have the ball in his hands to be effective, something we confirmed is true (again) for Kobe Bryant this season. Kobe and Monta would not be a good fit together. But if Kobe’s injury will keep him out for much of 2013-14, considering a top scoring option is necessary.
If the Clippers don’t re-sign Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, they will be hurting for backcourt players. Eric Bledsoe will be a free agent after this upcoming season too. But the Clippers have a better Monta Ellis on their team–Jamal Crawford.
Prior to last year especially, the same things that said of Monta Ellis were said of Crawford. He can’t be on a winning team. He’s unreliable. He’s a scorer not a team player. Crawford turned that around, and is a taller example of the still possible upside for Monta Ellis, and why teams will want to sign him.
I don’t think Ellis will be a good fit for either team, but he might wait out Paul and Howard’s decision, to be there waiting and clean up some team’s leftover millions.