Earlier last week, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that the Pacers were expected to show interest in Monta Ellis when free agency opened on July 1. Now, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the free agent shooting guard will sit down with Pacers' brass on Wednesday where a three-year, $32 million deal with reportedly be on the table:
Yahoo Sources: Monta Ellis traveling to Indiana on Wednesday, Pacers trying to close on a three-year deal. http://t.co/AMhtH2Kwhs— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2015
If Larry Bird is able to close the deal, Ellis will return to the Central Division after having spent two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged a team-high 18.9 points, 4.1 assists, and 1.9 steals last season.
Making the perennial All-Star snub a top priority in free agency should be seen as a continued sign of Indiana's move to play more uptempo next season. While his ball dominance, age, and alleged moodiness might bring reason for legitimate pause, his knack for pushing the pace and relentlessly attacking the rim will make him an excellent running mate for Paul George in the open court.
As was further expounded upon here, pairing Ellis, a 32.4% shooter off the catch, alongside George Hill would not the Splash Brothers make. But Slash Brothers? That's a real possibility. One of the top drivers in the league, Ellis is the embodiment of drive-and-dish, as he connects on 49.0% of his drives (good for fifth in the league among players with at least 600 total drives) and creates 10.2 points off assists per game. Hill, for his part, is a reliable 3-point shooter (35.8%) and excellent cutter, which makes him capable of playing off the ball. Playing alongside the former Maverick would require sacrifice for Hill, but the pairing, should it come to fruition, would likely make for a compelling back court tandem.
Of course, adding Ellis on a three-year, $32 million would make Rodney Stuckey, who last season rebuilt his reputation with the Indiana Pacers, decidedly more difficult in the absence of a significant discount.
Four teams, none of which were the Pacers, already reached out to Stuckey after midnight, reports the Indy Star's Candace Buckner. RealGM's Shams Charania previously reported that the Houston Rockets would be one of Stuckey's suitors as he eyed contenders with a plan to still "prioritize a possible return to Indiana where there is strong mutual interest."
For more on the dynamic free agent shooting guard's fit with the Indiana Pacers, hop here.