The Indiana Pacers have decided to release shooting guard Monta Ellis, after trying to trade him to another team this past week.
Kevin Pritchard and the Indiana Pacers aren’t wasting any time after moving Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this week. In the trade, the Thunder sent Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, which meant that Monta Ellis became expendable.
The Pacers are moving into a new era that features their young front court of Myles Turner and T.J. Leaf and want to try and move away as much salary as possible. Ellis just doesn’t fit the puzzle in Indiana and had to be moved. Per Indianapolis Star’s Nate Taylor, the Pacers were trying to buy out the contract of Ellis earlier this week and it looks like they were able to do it successfully.
The Vertical’s Shams Charania is reporting that the Pacers have waived Ellis, making him a free agent.
Ellis signed a four-year contract for $44 million with the Pacers that started in 2015-16. He has a player option for 2018-19 that he could potentially exercise to become a free agent.
Pritchard and Indiana didn’t even want to wait that long, as they released the 31-year-old. This past season with the Pacers, the shooting guard played in 74 games, although he came off the bench in more than half of those appearances.
He averaged 8.5 points per game on 44 percent shooting, which was his lowest scoring output since his rookie season. It just didn’t make sense for Ellis to continue to stay with the Pacers at that price for a rebuilding team.
Indiana will likely turn to recently-acquired Oladipo in the backcourt in place of Ellis. Regardless, Pritchard is trying to get all the veterans out of the building so they can start a full rebuild in the wake of the Paul George trade.