Monta Ellis

Free Agent Notes: Ellis, Green, Speights

Representatives from nearly half of the league’s teams were in attendance for a workout that included former NBA stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Bucks, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Blazers, Magic, Hawks, Wolves and Wizards were all in attendance. Haynes adds that 15 international teams from Europe and Asia also had representatives in Las Vegas for the workout.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Spurs, Nuggets, and Knicks were all interested in JaMychal Green before the forward re-signed with the Clippers, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Those teams were offering him a more lucrative offer than the one he signed with Los Angeles. The Clippers put on a “full-court press” to retain Green, Buha adds, and the 29-year-old ended up inking a two-year deal worth slightly under $10MM.
  • Green has the ability to be a free agent next summer, having secured a player option as part of his deal with the Clippers. Buha (in the same piece) speculates that Green could have commanded a deal in the $10MM+ range this offseason and that the forward should have the opportunity for a similar contract next summer.
  • Mo Speights, who played in China last season, is working out for teams in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweets. Speights last played in the NBA for the Magic during the 2017/18 season.

Free Agency Notes: Cap Holds, Williams, Magic, Wizards

Nearly half the teams in the NBA renounced their rights to multiple free agents this week as they prepared to make new roster moves official, per RealGM’s transactions log. In some cases, like when the Clippers renounced the rights to Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler, those free agents already new homes lined up, and removing their cap holds was simply a formality to create cap room for incoming additions.

In other cases, the housekeeping moves were a bit more noteworthy. The Pacers, for instance, renounced Darren Collison‘s Bird rights, so if the 31-year-old – who announced his retirement before the start of free agency – ever attempts an NBA comeback, Indiana will no longer have a leg up to re-acquire him.

Besides those two teams, the Hawks, Bucks, Nets, Jazz, Sixers, Clippers, Pelicans, Lakers, Kings, Celtics, Wizards, and Bulls also renounced various free agents, according to RealGM’s log.

Here are a few more notes related to free agency:

  • The Lakers have withdrawn their qualifying offer to two-way player Johnathan Williams and renounced his rights, according to RealGM. That doesn’t preclude the Lakers from bringing back Williams on a new two-way deal, but he’ll be able to sign outright with a new team if he so chooses.
  • At least nine teams are now confirmed to attend the Amar’e Stoudemire/Monta Ellis workout taking place in Las Vegas on Monday, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. We previously relayed word of Stoudemire’s and Ellis’ attempts to make NBA comebacks.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides salary cap updates on a pair of Southeast teams, tweeting that the Magic and Wizards are both safely out of luxury tax territory for now. According to Marks (Twitter links), Orlando has $3.5MM in breathing room under the tax line, counting Khem Birch‘s $1.8MM cap hold, while Washington is about $4MM below that threshold after cutting Jonathon Simmons.

Amar’e Stoudemire, Monta Ellis To Work Out For NBA Teams

Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis will hold a private workout for at least five NBA teams next week, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. He states that both players have overcome past injuries and are hoping to catch the attention of a contender, such as the Lakers, that has several roster spots to fill. The session is set for Monday evening in Las Vegas.

Stoudemire, 36, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015/16 season when he got into 52 games for the Heat. He has been playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns in the Israeli Premier Basketball League. He briefly retired in 2017, but decided to return to the game after spending time in the BIG3 League last summer.

The last NBA experience for the 33-year-old Ellis came with the Pacers during the 2016/17 season. He was a regular part of Indiana’s rotation, playing 74 games and averaging 8.5 points per night. However, the team opted to use the stretch provision on him that summer to unload his contract. He will receive $2,245,400 a year from the Pacers through the 2021/22 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Sports Images.

Timberwolves Work Out Paul, Rush, Johnson-Odom

Brandon Paul, Brandon Rush and Darius Johnson-Odom are among the free agent veteran guards the Timberwolves brought in for a workout on Monday, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. Monta Ellis is also on the list of players Minnesota is looking at, according to Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Paul, a 27-year-old shooting guard, made his NBA debut last season and appeared in 64 total games for the Spurs, averaging 2.3 PPG and 1.1 RPG in 9.0 minutes per contest. He was waived on July 31.

Rush, a 33-year-old shooting guard, played with the Timberwolves in 2016/17, appearing in 47 games, including 33 starts. Rush signed a 10-day contract with the Blazers last season but did not appear in a game and the team declined to give him a second 10-day deal.

Johnson-Odom hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2013/14 season. Johnson-Odom, 28, played in Italy last season.

Ellis, 32, was out of the league last season after the Pacers waived him in July 2017.

With the addition of forward Luol Deng, the Timberwolves have 13 players with guaranteed deals and James Nunnally‘s partially guaranteed pact and are holding open auditions for last spot or two if they don’t retain Nunnally. They brought in wing players Nick YoungArron Afflalo, and Corey Brewer last week.

They also reportedly would have interest in Joakim Noah should the center hit the open market. Like Deng, Noah previously played under coach Tom Thibodeau when he was coaching in Chicago.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, Head Coaches, Ellis

While the changes made by the NBA and the NBPA to the All-Star Game for 2018 have generally been well received, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wouldn’t have seeing the league take the changes one step further, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes.

“I think it really would have been interesting if they would have picked 24 All-Stars total,” Kerr said. “And not necessarily made it 12 from each side. If they really wanted to do it and get the 24 best players, maybe that would have been the way to go, but I respect the fact that the league is looking to alter the format, trying to make it better. I think it’s good.”

While I voiced the same complaint in our initial story on the All-Star changes, I wonder if there was some push-back against changing the way All-Stars were selected due to the incentive bonuses in many players’ contracts for making an All-Star team.

Just this offseason, free agents like Paul Millsap, Jrue Holiday, and Kyle Lowry were among the players to have All-Star bonuses added to their new deals. Changing the selection format would have changed some players’ All-Star odds significantly, impacting those bonuses, which may not have thrilled certain players or teams.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Dan Feldman of NBC Sports identifies three NBA head coaches who may be on the hot seat for the 2017/18 season, singling out Alvin Gentry (Pelicans), Jeff Hornacek (Knicks), and Fred Hoiberg (Bulls) as coaches under pressure to impress.
  • With Monta Ellis still on the free agent market and no indication that he’s close to catching on with an NBA team, Alex Siquig of RealGM takes a closer look at the veteran combo guard, exploring whether Ellis is on the verge of “extinction.”
  • The G League announced some rule changes and tweaked its playoff format today, as Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days passes along. In some instances, the NBA tests rule changes in the G League before implementing them in the NBA, so the list is worth checking out.
  • Speaking of rule changes, a handful of NBA head coaches weighed in with their thoughts on the league’s shortened preseason and reduced timeouts for the 2017/18 campaign. Steve Aschburner of NBA.com passes along their comments.

Five Notable Veteran Free Agents Still Available

While most noteworthy free agents came off the board in July, September brought with it a wave of pre-camp signings that saw the last few restricted free agents locked up, along with veteran unrestricted free agents like Tony Allen, Dante Cunningham, Aaron Brooks, and Shabazz Muhammad.

That wave of pre-camp signings created a scarcity of viable options on the list of 2017 free agents, but the shrinking group of available options still features a handful of intriguing vets. Here’s a breakdown of five names worth keeping an eye on:Deron Williams vertical

  1. Deron Williams, PG: While the former third overall pick is obviously no longer the player he was seven years ago – when he averaged 20+ PPG and 10+ APG – it was just last summer that he received $9MM from the Mavericks to be the club’s starting point guard. For the season, Williams averaged a respectable 11.0 PPG and 5.6 APG, with a .363 3PT% in 64 games for the Mavs and Cavs, but a disastrous showing in the NBA Finals against Golden State diminished his value heading into 2017/18. Still, he’s only 33 years old, and it would be surprising if he didn’t get an opportunity with an NBA team as a backup point guard this year.
  2. Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis is facing a five-game suspension to start the 2017/18 season and is coming off his worst year (8.5 PPG) since his rookie season. He’s not far removed from a 2014/15 campaign in which he averaged 18.9 PPG though, and while he’ll likely never match that figure again, this is only his age-32 season. He should still have something in the tank and could appeal to a team seeking a scorer off the bench.
  3. David Lee, PF: Like Ellis, Lee posted his worst scoring average since his rookie year last season, recording just 7.3 PPG. But Lee’s declining numbers were mostly a result of his new role in San Antonio — his .590 FG% was his best mark in a decade, and his per-minute averages weren’t far off from his career rates. Given how the value of offensive-minded, low-post bigs around the NBA has declined in recent years, however, it’s not a huge surprise that Lee has had trouble finding work.
  4. Derrick Williams, PF: Williams, of course, hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he was selected second overall in the 2011 draft. But he was a part of the Cavaliers team that went to the NBA Finals last season, and was solid when he saw action for the team, scoring 6.2 PPG on 50.5% shooting in 25 regular season contests. If former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett can get a training camp invite from an NBA team, it seems like Williams should be on a roster too.
  5. Spencer Hawes, C: Hawes’ contract made him an expendable piece in 2017, first in Charlotte and then in Milwaukee. After acquiring him at the trade deadline, the Bucks waived and stretched him in August to avoid the luxury-tax threshold. Like most of the other players on this list, Hawes’ best days are probably behind him, but his ability to knock down the occasional three-point shot (.350 career 3PT%) and to help out on the glass (9.0 career rebounds per 36 minutes) could make him a target for teams in need of frontcourt help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Waive Monta Ellis

5:03pm: The Pacers have officially waived Ellis, per the NBA’s transactions log. According to David Aldridge of TNT (via Twitter), Indiana will use the stretch provision on Ellis, stretching his cap hit across five years.

That will create nearly $9MM in extra 2017/18 cap room for the Pacers, which they could use to make an offer to Kelly Olynyk or another free agent.

4:16pm: Confirming that Ellis is being waived, Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star tweets that there’s no buyout involved in the transaction, meaning Indiana will remain on the hook for Ellis’ 2017/18 salary unless another team claims him, which is extremely unlikely.Monta Ellis vertical

4:06pm: The Pacers are waiving veteran guard Monta Ellis, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). Charania’s report doesn’t include any additional details yet, but the two sides were said to be discussing a buyout earlier this week, so it seems they’ve reached an agreement.

Ellis entered the 2016/17 season having started 677 of 710 regular season games since his rookie season, but saw his role with the Pacers reduced last season, and started just 33 of 74 games. The 31-year-old averaged 8.5 PPG and 3.2 APG in 27 MPG, which all represented the lowest marks since his rookie season back in 2005/06.

The contract Ellis signed with Indiana back in 2015 called for him to make $11.227MM in 2017/18 and featured a player option worth $11.69MM in 2018/19. Ellis’ player option is currently non-guaranteed, however, so the Pacers will only be on the hook for his ’17/18 salary if no buyout was reached.

Ellis will be suspended for the first five games of next season for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, but that shouldn’t have a substantial impact on his market as he seeks his next team. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after he officially clears waivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Monta Ellis, Pacers Discussing Buyout

Monta Ellis and the Pacers are discussing a possible buyout, sources told Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). The buyout could be completed later this month, Taylor adds.

It wouldn’t be a major surprise for Ellis to be seeking a better situation or to join a contender, considering his diminished playing time last season. Ellis, 31, started 81 games for Indiana in 2015/16 but started just 33 of 74 games last season. He averaged 8.5 PPG and 3.2 APG in 27 MPG, all career lows except for his rookie season of 2005/06 with the Warriors.

Ellis is due to make $11.2MM next season and holds a player option for $11.69MM in 2018/19.

A buyout would leave the Pacers a little thin at both guard positions even with the addition of Victor Oladipo in the blockbuster trade with the Thunder that shipped Paul George to the Western Conference. Indiana also agreed in principle to a two-year contract with point guard Darren Collison on Monday. Ellis knows he’d likely be a backup at either spot for a team in a rebuilding phase.

Ellis will be suspended for the first five games of next season for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

Monta Ellis, Reggie Bullock Receive Five-Game Suspensions

Pacers guard Monta Ellis and Pistons wing Reggie Bullock have been suspended five games apiece without pay for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, the league announced today (Twitter link via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today). The suspensions are believed to be marijuana-related, as Adi Joseph of USA Today tweets.

Ellis and Bullock will serve their respective suspensions to open the 2017/18 league year, assuming they’re physically able to play. If either player is injured to start the season, he’ll serve the five-game suspension once he’s ruled healthy enough to play.

Ellis, 31, had a down year in Indiana, as he played just 27.0 minutes per game, the lowest mark since his rookie season in 2005/06. He averaged just 8.5 PPG to go along with 3.2 APG and 2.8 RPG. Ellis has one more guaranteed year left on his contract with the Pacers, then has a player option for 2018/19. Indiana could also waive him prior to that option date without being on the hook for his ’18/19 salary.

“Monta’s suspension is a very serious matter to our franchise and it will be dealt with accordingly,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.

As for Bullock, he may not end up serving his five-game ban as a member of the Pistons. The former first-round pick, who was limited to just 31 games due to injuries in 2016/17, is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. He’s not viewed as a lock to get a qualifying offer from Detroit, let alone re-sign with the team.

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Durant, Draft

The Blazers made the playoffs this season, but Damian Lillard doesn’t consider that a success, as Chris Haynes of ESPN.com relays.

“We got tested, and I think we answered the bell,” the point guard said. “I felt like we showed our true colors by the way we fought. But I wouldn’t say successful. I think it was growth. A year of growth for us.”

The Warriors swept the Blazers in the opening round of the playoffs and Lillard understands that his team needs to beat Golden State if it’s going to win the Western Conference.

“You also got to understand that if you ever want to get out of the West, you’re going to have to go through them,” Lillard said. “And for me, I understand that’s what it is. It’s always been that way in the NBA. I think about when the Pistons were just beating up on [Michael] Jordan. [They] were just kicking his butt every year, and he had to get through them if he wanted to get to where he wanted to get to. That’s just what it is.

“[The Warriors are] going to be there. They’re going to be there every year. We have to look at that and understand that we got to be better. We have to go get better, and come back better as a group if we want to move past them.”

Here’s more from Portland:

  • Kevin Durant believes the Blazers are a few pieces away from contending for the conference’s crown, as Haynes passes along in the same piece. “I think they want somebody on the wing that can take the pressure off those two guards [C.J. McCollum and Lillard], somebody that’s big for their position. But they’re right there, man,” Durant said.
  • Breaking up McCollum and Lillard might be the only way the Blazers bring home the title, Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer contends. The scribe sees parallels in Portland’s current team and Golden State’s in 2012. The Warriors knew Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry couldn’t defend opposing backcourts at a top level and the team decided to trade Ellis away.
  • The Blazers acquired the No. 20 overall pick in the upcoming draft in the Jusuf Nurkic deal and that selection could be more important than the center, O’Connor argues in the same piece. Portland needs to find another piece to take the team from good to great and without cap space, the team will likely need to add that player through the draft. In addition to No. 20, the franchise also owns the No. 15 and No. 26 overall picks.