If you’ve ever wondered about the direction the Milwaukee Bucks were taking in this pivotal 2013 offseason, whether the team was going to keep with the same 38-win crew or blow it all up, a report out of Milwaukee has surfaced that should lead you to believe the Bucks are once again going for more of the same. Shootin’ for that .500 record, hopin’ for the eighth seed, signin’ all of the Monta Ellis.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned that discussions were held to extend Ellis’ deal with the Bucks but no agreement was reached.
As part of the discussions the Bucks offered the 27-year-old guard a two-year extension through the 2015-’16 season, resulting in a total package of nearly $36 million over three years, according to a source. Ellis would have been required to opt in to get the additional two years on the deal.
That includes the opt-in first year at $11 million, with annual raises bringing the total to $11.8 million in the second year of the deal and $13 million in the final year.
The average salary in the deal would have been about $12 million.
Gardner went on to report that Ellis turned down the deal, looking forward to opting out to take advantage of what would be a seller's market of an NBA free agent period this summer. We worry about the motivation behind a column like this, because while Gardner is a trusted reporter, these figures could have come from Ellis' camp in a move to ratchet up the free agent dollars that could potentially be sent his way.
Then again, these are the Bucks. We kinda believe that they'd put this sort of offer together, y'know?
So, around $12 million a year to pay Ellis through his prime. Which doesn’t sound like that terrible of a deal, if you work in the Milwaukee Bucks front office.
If you’re anyone else, though, it’s cringing time.
Ellis is a high-usage, low efficiency player. Last season he needed 17.5 shots per game to average 19.2 points per contest. He’s often referred to as an “effortless” or “pure” scorer, but shouldn’t pure scorers shoot better than 41 percent from the field, or perhaps decline to take four three-pointers a game when it’s obvious that 28.7 percent shooting from behind the arc just isn’t going to cut it?
Then there’s the other side of the court, which Ethan Sherwood Strauss reminded us about earlier on Friday:
Monta Ellis has his moments, and $12 million a year for a guy that (by hook or by crook) can put up around 20 points per game isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially considering Ellis’ age. With the coaching situation settled and internal development from within aiding in the cause, the Bucks should be able to improve, even with Ellis, next season.
But to what? A chance at the seventh seed? A winning record? Taking a game in the first round, instead of being swept? The addition of Larry Drew and hoped-for maturity in Larry Sanders are going to make that huge of a difference?
As anonymous as the Bucks may seem to most, Twitter is littered with angry Bucks fans that are unhappy with general manager John Hammond’s unending commitment to mediocrity. This is a team that needs to start over, and if this report is any indication, the Bucks have no plans to abandon what has done them so so-so in the past.
So so-so. They led the league in so-so last year, and are prepping for a run at defending their crown.