Monta Ellis

Report: Mavericks, Hawks, Lakers interested in Monta Ellis


Monta Ellis has told the Milwaukee Bucks he is opting out of the $11 million he is owed next season become a free agent this summer.

As noted at the time, it would be interesting to see what teams would go after a volume shooter — he scored 19.2 points a game but shot just 41.6 percent — but one entering what should be the prime of his career.

How about Dallas and Atlanta? And somehow the Lakers, according to Chris Broussard of

Sources say the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers have interest in Ellis, although the Lakers could get Ellis only via an unlikely sign-and-trade deal.

Ellis, who originally signed a six-year, $66 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, is close with Lakers free agent Dwight Howard. The two have long desired to play together.

Atlanta is looking to build a Spurs-style organization (GM Danny Ferry and coach Mike Budenholzer are Spurs alums) with Al Horford in the middle of it. Does that strike you as a fit with Ellis?

Dallas is looking for a superstar to build around and until they get that are offering only short-term deals until they find that guy. I could see them making a one or two-year offer to Ellis, but likely not the kind of deal he is looking for.

The Lakers? Not bloody likely. Even if Howard re-signs with the Lakers the L.A. pitch is that in 2014 they will have only him and Steve Nash on the payroll. Plus, Ellis could only come to the Lakers on the taxpayers midlevel exception of $3 million a year — the Lakers cannot take a free agent in a sign and trade deal (unless it brings their team salary under $76 million, which this would not). The new CBA says the Lakers or any team over the tax apron ($4 million above the tax line) can send a player out in a sign-and-trade (Howard, hypothetically) but cannot take a free agent in that way. No way that happens.

It’s interesting to hear the teams thrown out early on, it will be more interesting to see which ones actually offer a contract. One of those teams might be the Bucks.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.