As confirmed by the Indy Star’s Nate Taylor, the Indiana Pacers have waived 31-year-old guard Monta Ellis. He will become an unrestricted free agent, if no team decides to claim him off waivers over the next 48 hours.
Ellis, who was recently suspended five games for violating the league’s drug testing policy, suffered a groin injury in December which essentially caused him to disappear for nearly a stretch of 20 games. Over that span, the once speedy ball-handler averaged only 5.6 points while attempting less than two free throws per game and being mostly ignored by opponents.
Once Lance Stephenson was back on board for the final six games of the 2016-17 season, the only role that made sense for Ellis — backup point guard — ended up being manned by a more versatile and athletic version of his slower self. Acquiring Darren Collison presumably to run point as well as Victor Oladipo’s athletic playmaking certainly was not going to improve that sad reality.
Financially, the Pacers can opt to go one of two ways, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks:
Indiana has two options when it comes to the Monta Ellis waiver. The Pacers can elect to stretch his contract over five seasons with a $2.2M cap charge or take the full $11.3M guaranteed cap hit. Stretching the contract would see the Pacers with a projected $25M in room. Although Ellis contract was non-guaranteed for 2018-19, NBA rules counts that season in the formula used for stretching a player. The Pacers will have 48 hours to make a decision.
Rumor has it that the Pacers are attempting to shed salary in order to make room for Kelly Olynyk.
Either way, Monta’s salary will be erased, just like his explosiveness was by age and injury.