Monta Ellis has been out of the NBA for more than four years, but the 36-year-old guard thinks he has enough left in the tank for another go-round and hopes his former team can help make it happen.
The former Golden State Warriors guard opened up this week about his desire to return to the NBA, saying in an interview on 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny & Guru” show that he has been staying in shape and would be open to the idea of coming back to play one final season and retire with the Warriors.
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Ellis Wants “One Chance” at NBA Comeback
In the December 10 interview, Ellis was asked if he would consider taking the path of many former NBA players and attempting a soft comeback in the 3-on-3 Big 3 League. The former Warriors guard pushed back, saying he might only have once chance to play again and wants to keep his focus on returning to the NBA. Ellis last played with the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.
“I’d rather get that chance, if that opportunity and something happens and presents itself, then I can live with that, versus trying to go the other route,” Ellis said. “Like I said, if it don’t happen, it don’t happen.”
If there’s a chance he does make an NBA comeback, Ellis said he’d like it to be in Golden State and even joked that Warriors owner Joe Lacob should sign him right now.
“I love the Bay Area,” Ellis said. “I know they love me, too. Y’all go in there and tell Joe Lacob, man, go and get me a contract or something, man. I wanna retire as a Warriors. I can go out there and give ‘em 10-15 buckets.”
Ellis started his NBA career with the Warriors in the 2005-06 season, playing there for six seasons. His best season in the Bay came in 2009-10, when he averaged 25.5 points per game. Ellis and young guard Steph Curry made for a small but dangerous backcourt duo, but the Warriors opted to trade Ellis for big man Andrew Bogut in 2012.
Ellis said he was upset at Lacob at the time — especially since he had gotten assurances that he would not be traded — but sees the value of the trade in retrospect.
“At the end of the day, it’s something that happened unfortunately, but at the end of the day, we go back and look at it now, he didn’t make a bad move,” Ellis said. “It wasn’t so bad. They got over it really quick. It was a good, funny moment.”
Making the Case for Ellis
While Ellis may have been mostly joking when he suggested that the Warriors give him another contract, one analyst believes the team should seriously consider bringing back the veteran. Writing for SI.com’s Fastbreak, Ben Stinar wrote that the fan-favorite would be a sensible addition, especially for a team already in the luxury tax. Ellis would come on a veterans minimum deal, Stinar wrote on November 21, and could provide some important leadership to a team developing three young players expected to take on bigger roles in the coming years — rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody and second-year center James Wiseman.
“The Warriors have a very young team who does not have the experience that some of their other title teams had, and at the very worst Ellis would provide good veteran leadership as a respected former star and someone who has multiple years of playoff experience,” Stinar wrote.