Indiana Pacers trying to trade Monta Ellis

By @saihoops on
Monta Ellis
Apr 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis (11) drives to the basket during the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. USA TODAY Sports / Nick Turchiaro

The Indiana Pacers are trying to trade veteran shooting guard Monta Ellis ahead of the February deadline, per several reports.

Entering the new season, many analysts expected the new-look Pacers to challenge for a top-3 seed in the eastern conference and possibly pose a threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, things haven't panned out as expected. After suffering an embarrassing 142-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday, Paul George & Co. fell to a 10-11 record and out of the playoff bracket.

It's too early into the season but the Pacers front office is reportedly pressing the panic button and could shake up the roster in the coming months. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Pacers president Larry Bird is "open to moving" Ellis since the two-guard wouldn't impact their core.

Monta Ellis to Orlando Magic?

"Not sure there is much the Pacers have to offer without ripping up the core, which I do not see them doing.

"I know they’d be open to moving Monta Ellis, but I am not sure what he returns. Maybe Orlando? I think they need a flat-out scorer and there is some history with Vogel, but at this point, nothing is there," Kyler reported on Monday.

The Pacers are building around Paul George and Myles Turner -- with offseason acquisition Jeff Teague also being considered as a long-term solution at the point guard position. Teague is an unrestricted free agent next year but insiders expect the hometown guard to re-sign with the Pacers. 

Ellis has a Player Option ahead of the 2018-19 season. Therefore, the team which trades for him will be assured of his services for at least another full season. Since the aging Ellis would struggle to get a lucrative contract in free agency, many expect him to opt into his Player Option and become a free agent in the summer of 2019.

Once an elite scorer in the league, Ellis is averaging just 10.5 points per game this season -- his lowest aggregate since his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors in 2005-06. Ellis averaged at least 19 points per game for seven consecutive seasons between 2007-08 and 2013-14, hitting his peak in 2009-10 when he tallied a career-high 25.5 points per game for the Warriors. 

According to Bleacher Report, the Pacers would better off trading Ellis and focusing on its youth movement. 

"From the Pacers' perspective, moving the veteran Ellis would allow them to focus more on their future with whatever assets they received in return and their younger pieces. They still have Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles and Glenn Robinson to occupy minutes on the wing alongside George and Teague if they trade Ellis."

At this stage, it's hard to foresee a team giving up valuable assets for Monta Ellis. Having said that, a championship contender could use his veteran instincts and scoring ability off the bench.