Bucks Offered Two-Year Extension To Monta
By Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel
Monta Ellis will take the first step in the Milwaukee Bucks’ free agent dance when he decides whether to opt in for the final year of his contract or become an unrestricted free agent.
Ellis and his agent Jeffrey Fried face a June 20 deadline to make their decision.
Ellis is owed $11 million in the final year of a six-year, $66 million deal he signed while a member of the Golden State Warriors.
But the contract has a player option for the 2013-’14 season and he can choose to end the deal. If he does, Ellis will be a free agent on July 1.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned that discussions were held to extend Ellis’ deal with the Bucks but no agreement was reached.
As part of the discussions the Bucks offered the 27-year-old guard a two-year extension through the 2015-’16 season, resulting in a total package of nearly $36 million over three years, according to a source. Ellis would have been required to opt in to get the additional two years on the deal.
That includes the opt-in first year at $11 million, with annual raises bringing the total to $11.8 million in the second year of the deal and $13 million in the final year.
The average salary in the deal would have been about $12 million.
Ellis would have received some protection against injury with a three-year deal while also having the chance to be a free agent at the age of 30. But he may be interested in testing the market now.
Yahoo Sports recently reported that Ellis plans to opt out of his contract and could be interested in the Sacramento Kings, who hired former Golden State assistant Mike Malone as their new coach after undergoing an ownership change.
Ellis worked under Malone’s tutelage in Oakland while playing for the Warriors.
Ellis finished as the Bucks’ leading scorer last season, averaging 19.2 points to go along with 6.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Ellis played in all 82 games for the first time in his pro career and was the only Bucks player to accomplish the feat last season.
The 6-foot-3 guard ranked 11th in the league in scoring and fourth in steals.
Ellis played both the point guard and shooting guard spots for the Bucks, getting extended time at the point after the Bucks acquired J.J. Redick in a February trade deadline deal with Orlando.
A native of Jackson, Miss., Ellis was acquired by the Bucks in March 2012 in a trade that also brought forward-center Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee and sent center Andrew Bogut to the Warriors.
Ellis averaged 14.3 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals in four playoff games against Miami as the Bucks were swept in a first-round series.
The Bucks face an unsettled backcourt situation this summer with starting point guard Brandon Jennings becoming a restricted free agent and Redick set to be an unrestricted free agent.
Milwaukee also could look for backcourt help in the June 27 draft and already has worked out several candidates, including Miami point guard Shane Larkin, 19-year-old German point guard Dennis Schroeder, shooting guard Glen Rice Jr. and Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway