Monta Ellis

Report: Monta Ellis expected to turn down $11 million option, become free agent


The Milwaukee Bucks could look like a very different team next season.

We’ve already told you how Brandon Jennings — frustrated he wasn’t picked to be in Houston this weekend for the All-Star Game — is a restricted free agent next summer and has a new agent known for getting his clients to big cities. Jennings denies that’s the plan, of course. The Bucks can match any offer other teams make for Jennings so he doesn’t want to burn that bridge.

Now comes a note from the Boston Globe that Monta Ellis may become a free agent as well, reports the Boston Globe.

Also, guard Monta Ellis has an $11 million player option that he is expected to reject to become a free agent this summer. Ellis, like Josh Smith, has been productive throughout his career but elicits different opinions about whether he can contribute to a championship-caliber team.

Golden State felt it had to choose between Ellis and Stephen Curry, and it went with Curry. Milwaukee may ultimately see it’s backcourt the same way.

Ellis is averaging 18.4 points a game but is shooting just 40.1 percent on the season,

If Ellis opts out — and while he might well make less money next season he could get the security of a multi-year deal worth more in total — it seems it would be more likely the Bucks would match any offer for Jennings. The team has already made it clear they are not moving Jennings before the trade deadline Thursday.

We’ll see how it all shakes out. But with coach Scott Skiles out as coach and likely player shakeups, it’s going to be an interesting time in Milwaukee this summer.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.