Monta Ellis has informed the Bucks he'll exercise the early termination option on his contract, eliminating the final year of the deal, reports ESPN.com's Chris Broussard. The move means Ellis will officially become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Ellis' decision doesn't come as a surprise, since we heard two months ago he was likely to opt out. The Bucks reportedly offered Ellis an extension that would have hinged on him declining the ETO to receive an overall three-year, $36MM commitment from the team. Considering the veteran guard apparently passed on that offer, it was only a matter of time until he officially opted out to test the open market.
The 2013/14 option on Ellis' deal would have paid him $11MM. I'm skeptical that he'll see many offers that match or exceed that annual salary. However, if he can secure a long-term deal at a slightly lesser yearly rate, the decision still makes sense — especially if he prefers to play for a team besides the Bucks.
Based on multiple reports, it appears likely that the Kings will have some level of interest in Ellis, who figures to draw attention from plenty of clubs in need of backcourt help. Broussard identifies the Hawks, Mavericks, and Lakers as other probable suitors for Ellis, though the Lakers would seem to be a long shot, given their cap situation.
Ellis becomes the second player to exercise an early termination option on his contract this offseason. Andre Iguodala opted out of his deal last week, though the other players who have ETOs for 2013/14 are unlikely to exercise them.