The Mavericks are likely to try and trade Monta Ellis if he exercises his player option for next season, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports (Twitter link). The veteran guard has an option worth $8,720,000 for the 2015/16 campaign, and Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this month that the deadline for Ellis to make a decision was June 24th. The shooting guard is expected to opt out in search of a more lucrative contract. Dallas, without any player options taken into account, has roughly $28MM on the books for next season.
An Ellis opt-out would present the Mavs with a difficult decision. He led the team in scoring but slumped in the second half and shot just 16.9% from three-point range in regular season games after the All-Star break. However, he did make 11 of 30 three-point attempts during the playoffs. Ellis has probably played his way into making eight-figure salaries again after two years of pulling in an average of a little more than $8MM with the Mavs, Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron wrote in his offseason outlook for the team.
The benefit of Ellis opting out and becoming an unrestricted free agent is that it would free up additional cap space for the team to pursue free agent LaMarcus Aldridge and retain Tyson Chandler. That potential series of moves would give Dirk Nowitzki a role off the bench, which is something he is willing to consider. Though, if he did opt in and the team were to trade him for a player whose contract packs a lower cap hit, or one who is on a non-guaranteed deal, this could aid Dallas in its free agent dealings this summer.
The 29-year-old appeared in 80 games for the Mavs last season, averaging 18.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 33.7 minutes per contest. His shooting numbers were .445/.285/.752.