After two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, guard Monta Ellis is on the move, as he signed a free-agent contract with the Indiana Pacers .
According to a July 2 report from Chris Broussard of ESPN, the 29-year-old veteran inked a four-year deal. ESPN's Marc Stein noted the contract was worth $44 million and has a player option after year three.
The Pacers confirmed the deal on July 14 in a team release.
However, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported Ellis could be on the move again:
Broussard reported that Ellis turned down a four-year, $48 million contract from the Sacramento Kings.
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck spoke with Stephen Nelson about what the addition means for the Pacers:
Ellis is coming off a season that saw him average 18.9 points, 4.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Most of his numbers were slightly down in comparison to his previous campaign with the Mavs, but he was still among their top forces offensively.
While the former second-round pick of the Golden State Warriors could have remained in Dallas by opting in to his contract, he ultimately decided against it and chose free agency instead.
Opting out undoubtedly hurt the Mavericks' chances of bringing him back, but his co-agent, Jeff Fried, maintained that Ellis liked playing for the Mavs, per Tim MacMahon and Broussard of ESPN.com.
"Monta's experience in Dallas was definitely a positive one," Fried said. "The team and the organization had success and Monta grew as a player. A door to return there will always be open."
At the same time, Ellis had a desire to test the market in hopes of landing a sizable contract. According to Wojnarowski, the Pacers immediately showed interest in signing Ellis to a deal worth upward of $10 million per season.
Broussard confirmed Indiana's interest and laid out team president Larry Bird's potential vision for Ellis:
With the probability of Ellis' signing elsewhere looking very real, Mavericks guard Devin Harris explained what that would mean to the organization, per Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram.
"If we do lose him, it'll be a big void to fill," Harris said. "He played some of his best basketball here. I know he really likes it here."
Despite Ellis' success in Dallas, the 2007 NBA Most Improved Player bolted for what may or may not turn out to be greener pastures. What he did get in all likelihood, though, was more money than the Mavs were willing to spend.
As a player who averages over 19 points per game for his career, Ellis will almost certainly continue to be a dynamic force in the backcourt.
That is something Dallas will miss, as it will now have to lean more heavily on the likes of Harris and Raymond Felton while also exploring other options via free agency or trade.
The relationship between Ellis and the Mavericks was a fruitful one, as the player put up numbers and the team made a pair of playoff appearances, but it ultimately didn't lead to the overall level of success both sides hoped for.
As for the Pacers, Ellis fills a major need, as long as he remains in Indiana. An explosive scorer capable of filling the stat sheet, he'll give a boost to Indiana's offense, which ranked 24th in points per game last season. Pairing him with fellow guard Paul George gives the Pacers a fearsome, explosive backcourt and vaults them back to contender status for the coming season.
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