Monta Ellis, one of the premier free agents remaining on the market, has whittled his list to four teams and is hoping to choose his destination within the next 36 to 48 hours, a source close to the situation said on Tuesday.
Ellis is asking for money in the range of $12M per year, which is exactly the amount of money he turned down from the Bucks, who offered him a 3 year, $36M extension. The Kings have been rumored to be in hot pursuit of Ellis as have the Hawks and Nuggets. The Bobcats and Mavericks are new on the scene and evidently are very much in the hunt to land the high-scoring combo-guard.
In terms of which place makes the most sense for him to go, the answer surprisingly might be the Charlotte Bobcats, who recently acquired Al Jefferson for 3 years, and $41M. Pairing Ellis with a talented big man like Al Jefferson could easily vault the Bobcats not just into the playoffs, but into the range of possibly being a 5 or a 6 seed out East.
The most puzzling team on this list is no doubt the Sacramento Kings, who already have too many guards as it is. It was reported by CBSSports.com that they were looking to trade Chuck Hayes and Jimmer Fredette to make room for Monta Ellis, but that still leaves them with Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, and Greivis Vasquez in the backcourt. Adding Ellis once again gives them a crowded backcourt, which doesn’t at all seem to be a desirable problem to have.
Overall, wherever Ellis goes (including Sacramento), the team will be an improved team. However, none of these teams are contenders, and it seems that Monta Ellis prefers to be the first or second option on a weak team instead of being the third or fourth option on a contender. It is all he has ever known, and he obviously doesn’t want things to change.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord