Monta Ellis‘ role with the Pacers keeps declining, notes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. The 31-year-old shooting guard has been replaced in the starting lineup by Glenn Robinson III and has struggled to contribute off the bench. Ellis is averaging just 8.3 points per game, the lowest since his rookie season, and shoots just 29% from 3-point range. He’s also taking a career-low 9.3 shots per 36 minutes and his free throw and assist rates have both fallen. Ellis is signed for $11.23MM next season and has an $11.7MM player option that Lowe expects him to exercise in 2018/19.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- Rajon Rondo said he wasn’t trying to be the “bad guy” when he called out Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relays (Twitter links). “I have a great relationship with the young guys [on the Bulls] and they had some things to say,” Rondo said. “When people express feelings relationships get better.”
- Coach Fred Hoiberg said there will be no suspensions for any of the Bulls players as a result of the verbal battle between Wade, Butler and Rondo, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com passes along (Twitter link). However, Hoiberg did say there will be fines handed out.
- Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy says the idea of a 10-man rotation isn’t workable, even though the team is getting past its injury problems, relays Aaron McMann of MLive. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jon Leuer recently returned to the lineup, giving Detroit 10 players who have seen regular playing time this season. But Van Gundy says decision have to be made on what’s best for the team, not to make sure certain players get enough minutes. “I like having all of those guys available,” he said. “It certainly gives us more flexibility, but the idea it’s as simple as, ‘Play 10,’ or ‘Play nine’ … you start charting out the minutes guys should get, and it doesn’t work.”
Chris Crouse contributed to this post