Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers, Monta Ellis discussing a buyout


Coming off the worst season of his career, Monta Ellis is not likely to stay with the Indiana Pacers much longer.

With Paul George gone via trade and Jeff Teague leaving in free agency, the Indiana Pacers are seem set to enter rebuild mode. Further shedding of veterans may be on the radar, and according to Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star the Pacers are discussing a buyout with shooting guard Monta Ellis.

Ellis is coming off a bad 2016-17 season, as he averaged 8.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game on 44.3 percent shooting while making just 31.9 percent of his three-pointers. After starting 81 games for the Pacers in 2015-16, he started just 33 of the 74 games he played this past season and averaged the fewest minutes (27 per game) since his 2005-06 rookie season.

Ellis has two years left on the four-year deal, $44 million deal he signed with Indiana in 2015. He is due to make $11.2 million next season, with a $11.69 million player option for 2018-19. His lack of contribution last season makes him of little use to the Pacers at that salary, and Ellis may want to play for a contender at this stage of his career anyway.

An added layer to Ellis’ situation is a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, which will be served at the start of next season. The suspension is believed to be marijuana-related, and Pacers president Kevin Pritchard expressed some disappointment in a statement at the time it was announced. Diminished production on the court and an off-court distraction of any sort is a recipe to be let go, particularly with the Pacers entering a different phase as a franchise.

 

Ellis should find a few suitors if, or more likely when, he becomes available. But his three-point percentage has not even surpassed 33 percent in six straight seasons now, and he has not kept pace with the league’s all-around shift toward perimeter shooting. He offers little else though, so a deal for the veteran’s minimum is coming if Ellis is bought out and continues to play.

 





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