Lot has been said over the past season about Monta Ellis and reported rumors of friction in the locker room. Monta Ellis was the Mavs leading scorer last season averaging 18.9 points per game but has made it no secret he wants a raise and if that’s the case the Dallas Mavericks will have a new starting shooting guard next season.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon wrote a piece on ESPN Dallas about what may happen if Monta Ellis opts in his contract for next season and pretty much made it clear that in his opinion that’ll mean ‘bye bye Monta’.
I agree with Tim MacMahon because the signs have been there all year long about his unhappiness with his contract and rumored ‘jealously’ with Chandler Parsons because of how much less he was making than the Mavs biggest free agent signee from last offseason. Monta Ellis perhaps showed the biggest public display of dissatisfaction on April 10th in a Mavs victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Many fans that watched that game would remember it as Raymond Felton’s biggest game of the year as the game went into double overtime and Felton was the Mavericks closer in that game in leading them to a late victory. While every single Mavericks player rose from their seats when the clock hit 0.0, Monta was the ONE player that made no attempt to show any sense of joy or happiness for his fellow teammate.
So the signs have been there whether we’ve wanted to see them and acknowledge them. Monta Ellis has been a very good player for the Mavs and provided with the slogan “Too Much Monta” and multiple late fourth quarter heroics but the there’s numerous reasons why it’s a good idea to not bring Monta back.
1) Monta Ellis wants a pay raise from the 8+ million he made last season and while it’s certainly been earned it would be a mistake for the Mavericks to pay a 30 year shooting guard 10+ million per season.
2) When’s the last time you’ve seen a shooting guard play like he was in his prime after he’s reached 30 years old? Players like Dwayne Wade, Vince Carter, Tracey McGrady and even Mavs great Michael Finley saw declines in their early 30s. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have been the exception but come on both are legendary players and two of the all-time greats.
3) Monta Ellis is an undersized shooting guard that can be exposed on both ends of the court because of his size. On defense shooters can shoot over him and abuse him down low in the post if they choose to do so. On offense, while Monta can be dynamic, longer defenders can have success against Monta in slowing him down if they body him up. Klay Thompson for example is 6’7″ and was able to lockdown Monta every single game this past season because of his length and physicality against a smaller Monta.
4) Monta’s biggest attribute is his speed and quickness and as he enters his post-prime years that strength will decline and he’ll have no other means of scoring because he’s not the type of guard that imposes his physical strength by any means.
5) The Mavericks are trying to lure one or two big fishes and whether you like that strategy or not it means there won’t be enough money left over for Monta who wants a significant raise, remember Parsons makes over 15+ million that’s the ballpark Monta wants.
6) The idea of Monta as a sixth man has been brought up and while that’s a great idea and one that would work you’re not going to be paying your sixth man that amount of money. Besides Monta is too prideful and sees himself as an alpha dog, he’s not at that point in his career where he sees that type of move best for himself.
7) Pride is another reason, Monta is so prideful that he wants to play in every single game no matter how hurt he may be. Now don’t get me wrong I love that about Monta because he wants to be out there for his teammates and go to battle with them but if you’re hurting more than helping your team you need to sit. He’s butted heads with Rick Carlisle and the coaching staff about that and it’s never a good sign when you can’t budge a little and listen to your coaches who have your best interest in heart.
I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Monta because I’ve enjoyed having him in Dallas and he’s been great more time than not but he’s just not my ideal shooting guard to begin with. You want someone 6’5″ who is long and can shoot the open 3 kind of like when DeShawn Stephenson was here in 2011. How much did he make that year, oh yeah just $4.15 million. You don’t need a high scoring shooting guard, it all depends on how you build your team.
The Mavs need more two-way players that can play BOTH offense AND defense. Iman Shumpert would be a great fit in my opnion because he’ll be 25 in a couple of weeks, is an excellent defender and can hit the occasional three if left open. Not saying Mavs have to go out and get him but that type of player would suit the Mavericks and Carlisle’s philosophy.
If Monta decides to opt-in then awesome you’re not forced to give last year’s leading scorer a pay-raise and still have the flexibility to add a big fish and some role players, however don’t see that happening. I can’t, nor should anyone else, blame Monta for wanting a pay raise either because after all he was the Mavs leading scorer and lost money when he came to Dallas after turning down a more lucrative contract from Milwaukee. He was the fourth highest paid starter on the Mavericks roster and yet he asked to do more offensively through the entire season. I’d want a pay raise too if I was Ellis and no you can’t bring Dirk into this conversation because he’s made PLENTY of money throughout his career compared to Ellis.
But again if you give Monta a pay raise you’re giving it to him because of what he’s done and not what he’ll be able to provide in the future, ala Kobe Bryant.
The last reason why the Mavericks shouldn’t bring back Monta, Chandler Parsons. Now not everyone is a Parsons fan but like it or not he’s in Dallas for two more seasons at least and making 15+ million in each of those two years. Parsons is still young and as a matter of fact is pretty good, go figure. He can shoot the ball and is an underrated ball handler and very good on pick and rolls. He can certainly pick up the scoring left by Monta if he leaves and you know what he WANTS the bigger role, that’s what he came to Dallas for and he may get his wish.
I am, however, a little worried about his knee surgery he had this offseason because the Mavericks never really disclosed the nature of his injury but good news is he’s off crutches and expected to be ready for the start of the season.
If the Mavericks do in fact get LaMarcus Aldridge and perhaps re-sign or acquire DeAndre Jordan then they’ll have to get some cheap options at the shooting and point guard positions via free-agency or trade. The biggest reason for all this uncertainty is the Mavs inability to keep draft picks, use them effectively and develop those players. If they could do that then maybe we as fans aren’t saying bye to players like Monta every season with all these questions marks going into the offseason (but that’s a whole different issue).
In the end if Monta does elect to opt out which everyone expects for him to do then maybe Monta and the Mavs can help each other in orchestrating a sign-and-trade for a point guard such as Ty Lawson or a point guard whose name we haven’t heard linked to the Mavericks. Monta gets his money and Dallas is able to acquire a player in return, a win-win. It’s a little bit more complicated then that but if both parties agree then it could be the best option if they decide to part ways.
Monta Ellis has outplayed his contract with the Mavericks and he deserves a raise but just don’t expect the Mavericks to give it to him.