NBA suspends Pacers' Ellis 5 games
As if Monta Ellis’ trade value wasn’t already low enough.
The veteran guard now faces a five-game suspension for violating the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, the league announced Friday. The suspension will be served at the beginning of the 2017-18 season and include only games Ellis is physically able to play.
Just 12 minutes elapsed between the time the NBA announced Ellis’ suspension and the Pacers released a terse statement from team president Kevin Pritchard:
“Monta's suspension is a very serious matter to our franchise and it will be dealt with accordingly.”
Ellis has two years and approximately $23 million left on the four-year, $44 million deal signed prior to 2015-16, a deal authored by former team president Larry Bird, and has been a comprehensive disappointment.
After averaging 13.8 points while battling a series of injuries in his first season, his production dropped to 8.5 points in 27 minutes per game last year -- both the lowest marks since his rookie campaign of 2005-06.
He opened last season as the starting shooting guard in a small backcourt with point guard Jeff Teague, but sat out eight games with a groin strain and did not return to the starting lineup until the final 10 games of the regular season.
He started the first two games of the Pacers’ first-round series sweep at the hands of Cleveland but was benched in favor of C.J. Miles. In those four games, Ellis totaled 22 points in 77 minutes.
Ellis has long been mentioned in trade rumors, dating back to his first season in Indiana, but his age (31), contract and modest production have been a strong deterrent to other teams. With the addition of Lance Stephenson late last season, Ellis faced the prospect of coming off the bench in 2017-18, if he remains with the team.
(Photo of Monta Ellis by Getty Images)