'Monta Have It All' - Plus Mavs Trade Value
The Dallas Mavericks' Summer-of-2013 pursuit of a "name'' free agent is a modified success with the signing of Monta Ellis to a three-year contract that starts at the low price of $8 mil and increase into something below the initial $30-million reported deal: It's $8 mil, then $8.360 mil, then a player's option at $8.720 mil. That's $25.08 mil (all these numbers discovered exclusively by our David Lord, by the way). ... which feels like a bargain.
Is is a modified "success'' because the public is familiar with Ellis, because his electricity might sell tickets, because the restless natives can't accuse Mavs management of not "doing something''?
Maybe a little bit. But there are three specific areas where Ellis fits nicely into what Dallas needs to accomplish on the floor ... and beyond.
1. A second scorer -- you know, a "Robin''
It shouldn't be this difficult to find someone to play "Robin'' to Dirk's "Batman,'' but even through 11X50, two NBA Finals appearances and one NBA title, the Mavs have struggled to find a true second scorer. Finley was that for a time, and Jet was certainly that although he came off the bench to do so, and Mayo had his moments last season ...
But maybe Monta can do it in a more traditional way: A scorer who is also a wing creator for himself due to his handles (not a strength of Finley, Jet or Mayo). A scorer who is also a point-guard-quality passer (Monta has a reputation as a gunner but last year complemented his 19 points per game with six assists per, too).
Somebody with "swagger'' and the numbers to back it up.
Monta = D-Wade? In Dallas, Wade is so despised that we might actually allow Ellis to go unscathed by his cockiness there.
But rather than "talk it,'' let's allow DB.com's Michael Dugat to illustrate it:
Ellis has not been paired with an offensive weapon the caliber of Dirk, has not worked with the space Dirk's presence should provide.
Monta got to the rim for 5.2 field-goal-attempts per game last season, and has never averaged below 4.5. By comparison, Shawn Marion led the Mavs a year ago with 4.0 attempts at the rim per game (the most for a Dallas player since Marion averaged 4.1 in the 2010-11 season). No Dallas player has matched those 5.2 attempts at the rim per game going back to the 2006-07 season (per Hoopdata.com), and only twice in that span has a Dallas player exceeded Ellis's career-low of 4.5: Marion with 5.1 in 2009-10 and Devin Harris with 4.6 in 2007-08.
It's fair to say, Ellis holds the skills to capitalize on the defense's inability to leave Dirk as much or more than any guard in the Dirk era. Whether or not he is able to exploit those skills remains to be seen. ... but the talent is there and the formula is there, too.
Oh, and according to Mark Cuban, Dirk is very much on board with this.
"Monta was a guy that Dirk loves,'' the owner tells KESN. "If you ask him about him, he'd say ‘Can we get him, can we get him, can we get him?'
2. A chance to grow into efficiency
Is Monta a young enough dog to be taught new tricks?
Last year, O.J. handed himself over to coach Rick Carlisle for a complete re-tooling of his game. The experiment certainly worked in the first half of the season; with Dirk out, Mayo was Dallas' best player. And it worked out for Mayo in the end, too, as his year in Dallas resulted in a $4.2-million salary being doubled by the Bucks.
Monta's inefficiency is the stuff of basketball infamy. But if you will recall, previous to last season, O.J.'s inefficiency was the stuff of basketball infamy, too.
3. Monta Ellis' trade value
Dallas didn't get Ellis to give him away; we're not suggesting that. But his contract is not an albatross. He's 27 now, so he'll still be young and desirable during the entire course of its three years. Maybe he reverts to the to-the-rim weapon he was in Golden State. Maybe he becomes more efficient under Carlisle's tutelage.
Maybe the Kings will eventually want to take another stab at him.
Early in free agency this summer, various reports had Sacramento "aggressively'' pursuing Ellis and indications are he spurned whatever offer the Kings made while at the same time expressing an admiration for their new coach Mike Malone.
We're spitballing here by noting that if the Kings have a high opinion of Ellis, and that if his contract mirrors what they were willing to offer him (or less) ... and that if meanwhile their patience with DeMarcus Cousins eventually wanes ... we have a theoretical match!
Again, "spitballing'' and "theoretical.'' But you get the idea. The Mavs have acquired a piece that can help them in a multitude of ways. So "Monta Can Have It All'' and Dallas can have some of it, too.
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