Milwaukee Bucks: Former Buck Monta Ellis working toward NBA return

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26 (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26 (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have been featured heavily in the news following their title-winning season, but the most recent buzz surrounding the team comes from other circumstances.

Rumors are swirling that former Buck Monta Ellis is pursuing an NBA return and could have some suitors interested in his services. As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Ellis joined Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Thomas in a workout for the Dallas Mavericks last week as they aim to shore up their guard depth. The Athletic’s Alykhan Bijani followed up that reporting by stating that the Houston Rockets also worked out the guard.

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Ellis is a name that most Bucks fans will remember as he played 103 games with the franchise back in the early 2010s after coming over in the infamous trade for big man Andrew Bogut. The guard averaged a reputable 18.9 points on a .419/.284/.771 slash line, 3.9 rebounds, and six assists per game with the team.

Players seeking an NBA return are always in for an uphill battle, especially when they have been out of the league for such an extended period of time, which is precisely the predicament Ellis currently faces.

Will former Milwaukee Bucks star Monta Ellis find himself on an NBA roster for the 2021-22 season?

Having not played in the league since the 2016-17 season, Ellis has been out of the game for quite some time. While he is still at a viable playing age at 35-years-old, a player that has been gone for that long is always a tough sell.  Despite the workouts that he reportedly had, it will be hard to genuinely evaluate if he is ready to make it back to the big stage. Going off the assumption that he is ready, let us take a look at what he might bring to the table for each team.

If Ellis impressed in his workout with Dallas, he could make some level sense for them as they look to bolster their guard depth. The Mavericks desperately need players that can make plays on the offensive end when Luka Doncic is not on the floor. Ellis knows a thing or two about that as he averaged 17.8 points and 4.6 assists for his 12-year career. While there is some uncertainty as to whether or not he could get back to that level, his familiarity with the organization – Ellis played with Dallas from 2013-15 – could make it a more reasonable move for the Mavericks.

Hearing that the Rockets also worked out Ellis recently was certainly more puzzling than the Mavericks considering the team’s timeline. They seemingly entered a rebuilding period after trading away James Harden last January and plan to build around Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, and Christian Wood. Although 31-year-old John Wall is still in town, it is clear that this team will focus heavily on their youth, and a 35-year-old Ellis does not exactly fit. However, if they were looking to add a veteran presence to that locker room with young pieces, it could make sense in that regard.

Only time will tell if Ellis gets another shot in the NBA, but he has now joined the list of former Bucks that are gunning for a comeback. Big man Larry Sanders was reported to have interest in making a return over the past year, and former point guard Brandon Knight made it clear that he wants another opportunity after a stint with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2021 Summer League.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: Comparing retooled 2021-22 roster to title-winning team. dark

While the Bucks might not have the space for these guys, several teams across the league could potentially take a chance on them.