ST. FRANCIS —
The Milwaukee Bucks have lost their leading scorer.
Monta Ellis has
informed the Bucks he won't exercise his $11 million option for
the upcoming season, making him an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The move Monday wasn't a total surprise, coming after Ellis
rejected a two-year contract extension last fall.
There's a chance
the Bucks could lose their second-leading scorer, too.
who combined with Ellis to contribute almost 37 percent of
Milwaukee's points, is a restricted free agent this summer,
meaning the Bucks have the right to match any offer for him. J.J.
Redick, traded to Milwaukee from Orlando in February, also is a
with the three guys ... you've got three pretty good
ballplayers," new coach Larry Drew said earlier this month.
Ellis led the
Bucks with 19.2 points and 37.5 minutes last season, his first
full season in Milwaukee. He and Ekpe Udoh came to the Bucks from
Golden State at the trade deadline in 2012 in exchange for the
oft-injured Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.
But the Bucks
have known losing Ellis — or all of their guards — was a
possibility, and already have begun to adapt.
Milwaukee has a
pair of promising big men in Larry Sanders and John Henson, and
Drew has indicated the two will be the cornerstone of his team.
Sanders made huge strides in his third season, more than doubling
his scoring average (9.8 points) and grabbing more rebounds (672)
than he had in his first two years combined. Henson, a rookie,
showed his potential with a monster game April 10 in Orlando,
flirting with a triple-double with 25 rebounds, 17 points and
guys are going to be big part of the future," Drew said
earlier this month. "I think their development is going to be
very important, but you can't teach height, you can't teach
length. John and Larry Sanders, these guys are two guys that can
really affect a game, and I'm very excited about the chance to
work with both guys."
Journal Sentinel was the first to report Ellis' decision.