Monta Ellis has quickly become the top available free agent in the NBA. The guard decided to opt out of his deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, looking for a lucrative, long-term contract. Ellis, though, has not received the offers that he thought he would, firing his agent in the process.
Before he was traded to the Bucks in 2012, Ellis was a top scorer in the league, posting averages of 25.5, 24.1 and 21.9 points per game in consecutive seasons. Last season, with Milwaukee, his average dipped to 19.2 points per game on just 41.6 percent shooting from the field.
Ellis won’t garner the type of contract offers that Dwight Howard or Chris Paul have received, but there are a few teams interested in signing him. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Ellis is hoping to make a decision within the next two days.
Dallas might be Ellis’s most likely landing spot if his primary concern is winning. Broussard reports that club’s top priority is to pair Ellis with Andrew Bynum, who is also a free agent. The biggest obstacle in making that a reality might be the Mavericks’ payroll. They are looking to trade Shawn Marion to create more cap space, but have found it hard to find any takers for the 35-year-old.
Cap space won’t be a problem for the Hawks, who have more than enough flexibility to sign Ellis. After losing Josh Smith to the Detroit Pistons and failing to land either Howard or Paul, the club could look to keep their payroll down for the summer of 2014. A sign-and-trade including Ellis and current Hawks point guard Jeff Teague is a possibility. Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer is, reportedly, a fan of Ellis, and Bucks head coach Larry Drew was with the Hawks just last season.
The Kings have made an offer to Ellis, as they try to replace the loss of Tyreke Evans, who signed with the New Orleans Pelicans. Sacramento, however, used up much of their cap space when they acquired Luc Mbah a Moute on Tuesday. In order to reach Ellis’s demands, they may trade Marcus Thornton, who’s set to make over $8 million on 2013-2014.
The Bobcats could end up being one of the biggest players in 2013 free agency. First, they signed Al Jefferson to a three-year deal worth over $40 million. Now, they could be in play to land Ellis. Charlotte’s interest in the 27-year-old may rely on Gerald Henderson. The shooting guard has spent his entire four-year career with the Bobcats, but is a restricted free agent.