While Monta Ellis has been out of the NBA for two years, it appears the sharpshooting guard is eyeing a return to the league. The 33-year-old has put together some strong scoring marks throughout his 12-year career but saw his numbers hit a decline in the final two seasons with the Indiana Pacers.
Regardless, as ESPN’s Jordan Schultz reported, Ellis, along with Amar’e Stoudemire will work out for at least five teams in Las Vegas on July 8. Not surprisingly, both players were linked by Schultz as options to head to Los Angeles, specifically with the Lakers, who are in the midst of pursuing their third member of a big three in Kawhi Leonard.
While Ellis, who averaged 17.8 points, 4.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds over 713 career games, may be eyeing the Los Angeles Lakers, he’d actually be a strong fit there as well. With that said, we’re going to take a look at the latest on his outlook and the best potential fits in free agency, assuming he impresses during his workout.
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Lakers Among Monta Ellis Free Agency Fits
There’s no question that Ellis would make sense for the Lakers, specifically if they are able to land Leonard in free agency. They’re going to be cap-strapped at that point and would need to sign players to minimum deals. This would set Ellis up to be a solid option to provide a scoring spark off the bench.
Although Ellis’ shooting percentages jumped around a bit over the span of his career, he shot 46.5 percent from the field during the early stages of his career with the Golden State Warriors. During his final season with the Pacers, Ellis knocked down 44.3 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc.
It’s tough not to like the idea of Ellis playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, especially when considering the number of open looks he’d potentially see.
Sixers Make Sense for Monta Ellis in Free Agency
After the Philadelphia 76ers watched JJ Redick leave town for the New Orleans Pelicans at the start of NBA free agency, it’s left an interesting outlook for the team in terms of their shooters. Although Philly was able to add Josh Richardson in the sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat involving Jimmy Butler, the team is lacking second-unit shooting.
As things stand, they’ll likely utilize Zhaire Smith, James Ennis, Shake Milton, Raul Neto and rookie Mattise Thybulle at shooting guard/small forward off the bench. Ellis would have the chance to step in and offer upside as a player who can knock down outside shots fairly consistently to a group that has question marks in that area.
Ellis isn’t likely to come in and be someone who averages 12-15 points per game, but if he carves out 15-20 minutes per game, he could keep opposing defenses honest and help the Sixers’ bench scoring.
Monta Ellis Free Agency: Clippers & Raptors Worth Watching
Much of the situation with the Toronto Raptors as a potential fit depends on how free agency plays out, but specifically what happens with Leonard. Both teams appear to be in the mix for the guard, with the Raptors receiving plenty of attention for the star forward to potentially re-sign in Toronto.
If the Raptors were to re-sign Leonard, there may also be a decent chance that shooting guard Danny Green remains in town as well. In turn, Toronto could essentially just try to keep their current core together and look to make a run at a repeat. With that said, if things get shaken up and both players leave town, Ellis to the Raptors could be a conversation worth having.
The Los Angeles Clippers have depth at guard as well, especially with Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet and the addition of Rodney McGruder. With that said, Doc Rivers is unlikely to be one to shy away from signing a player who can provide another scoring spark off the bench. Ellis would have a tougher time carving out minutes with the Clippers, but they’re still a team to monitor.