After working out with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, Monta Ellis has received another interest from a contender in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles Lakers have reached out to Ellisâ€˜ business manager Derrius Nelson of Dagger Basketball Agency, who quickly arranged a conference call with his client Monday.
â€œI told them that Tae is not big on being a star anymore. Heâ€™s been there already,â€ Nelson told Empire Sports Media. â€œHis [possible] addition can make them one of the best LA Lakers teams to go down in history. With Tae being there, it would be crazy!â€
“Derrius, thatâ€™s why I’m calling because I know what type of player Monta is. I was a huge fan of him; his [past] works and the time he put in the NBA override a lot of guys that’s been coming to work out because he is reliable,â€ the Lakers representative was quoted as saying to Nelson.Â
Ellis has previously played under Lakers coach Frank Vogel in Indiana. In his lone season under Vogel, Ellis averaged 13.8 points and 4.7 assists.
Vogel appreciated Ellisâ€™ transformation from a big-time scorer into more of a playmaker, embracing the Pacersâ€™ ball movement during their time together.
â€œHe came in here with the reputation of being a big-time scorer, and weâ€™ve been overwhelmed with his ability to pass the basketball [and] to create. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s been most impressive to me, so I think weâ€™re using him more in that regard rather than just asking him to go score,â€ Vogel said in 2016.
He settled in nicely with his then newfound role as the veteran leader of a young Pacers team that featured a 25-year old Paul George entering his prime. Ellis was instrumental in helping the Pacers pushed the more experienced Toronto Raptors to seven games in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. He averaged 11.6 points and 4.3 assists in that series.
â€œI think itâ€™s who he is,â€ said Vogel. â€œFirst of all, heâ€™s got great will and determination to win. I think he recognizes that weâ€™ve still got a fairly young team â€” a team where a lot of guys are either young or in new roles. Heâ€™s helped a lot of these guys with his experience â€” sharing his experiences.â€
â€œMonta is at a point in his career where scoring 25 points or 20 pointsÂ isnâ€™t the most important thing to him. Whatâ€™s most important to him is winning every night. Thatâ€™s a blessing and welcome thing for a head coach â€” to have a guy who is just going to go out and do whatever it takes to win a game. If he scores four points and we win, heâ€™s happy. If we need [him]Â to go out and get 20, 25 points to help us win, thatâ€™s what heâ€™s going to try and go out to do. I love that heâ€™s all about winning right now,â€ Vogel added.
But after Vogelâ€™s contract was not renewed at the end of the season, Ellis quickly fell out of favor as the Pacers decided to go in a different direction. Nate McMillan was hired to lead the rebuilding process. A season later, the Pacers traded away Paul George and stretched Ellisâ€™ remaining years of his contract.
Now 35, Ellis said in a previousÂ exclusive interview with Empire Sports Media that he still has it. He trained under top NBA trainer Joe Abunassar to prepare for this comeback attempt, and so far, it yielded two workouts and possibly three more with the Lakers one of them.
Five years since their first team-up, Ellis and Vogelâ€™s paths could meet again, with the Lakers stacking up veterans for another possible title run. Currently, the Lakers have 13 players on guaranteed contracts. They also have two players in undrafted rookies Mac McClung and Chaundee Brown on Exhibit 10 deals and a pair of two-way players in rookies Joel Ayayi and Austin Reeves.Â
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