Back in the Summer of 2013, the Mavericks signed Devin Harris to a three-year contract worth almost $10 million. It was a nice homecoming for the former Mav that headlined the Jason Kidd trade package five years prior. A toe injury caused Harris to fail his physical although he would eventually return to Dallas on a one year contract for the veteran minimum.
With this fallout, Dallas had a hole to fill at shooting guard and turned to a name not many were expecting anything from. Monta Ellis.
After six and a half years in Golden State before the Warriors (wisely) chose Stephen Curry over him and dealt his services to the Bucks forAndrew Bogut, Ellis was a free agent at the end of his time in Milwaukee and was not returning. On top of that, O.J. Mayo was certainly not coming back to the Mavericks (Thank the Lord).
Things fell into place and fate brought the Mavericks and Monta together on a three-year contract worth $25 million with a player option for year three. The result was a resurgence and remodel in the career of a player perceived as high maintenance and only good at scoring.
Ellis is naturally limited physically for a shooting guard and not even Rick Carlisle could make him a factor on the defensive end, but Monta Ellis became a fan favorite in Dallas in his brief two years. He helped Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks return to the NBA Playoffs after sitting them out for the first time since 2000.
In two series spanning 12 games, Monta Ellis averaged 22.8 points with the Mavs and he filled his own memory bank of gaming winning shots, likethis crazy one against his old team. There’s no traveling in the NBA!
Things ended on an unfortunate and sour note, put in a coffin by Rajon Rondo, the acquisition of Rajon Rondo, Rajon Rondo’s role, Rajon Rondo’s locker room presence/impact and the Rajon Rondo effect.
For the first time in three years to the day, Monta Ellis will play in the American Airlines Center without “Dallas” written across his chest.
With the signing of Wesley Matthews, I don’t think any MFFL thought we would miss “Too Much Monta” so, so very, very much. I certainly didn’t. I love Wes Matthews and despite his career-worst season, he brings the energy and passion for the game that Monta did. He brings defense and (supposedly) three point shooting where Ellis did not, but the Mavericks sorely miss the playmaking ability of Monta Ellis.
This off-season, Monta signed a four-year contract with the Indiana Pacers for $44 million. He’s regressed but still is having a fine season for the Playoff contending Pacers, averaging just 14.5 points, the lowest since his rookie season.
The Pacers and Mavericks play at 1 P.M. Saturday afternoon, Dallas’ earliest start of the year and the only occasion they will tip off before 2:30.