Bucks offered Ellis a 2-year extension but no deal reached; deadline to opt out is June 20 - JSOnline
Every bit of news that comes in these seems to reinforce the notion that Monta Ellis will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and become an unrestricted free agent. That eventuality looks even more likely in light of a report from Charles Gardner saying the Bucks offered Ellis a two-year extension worth about $12 million per year. The extension would have required Ellis to opt-in to his final year at $11 million and tack on the extension, which would have put the total value of his deal with Milwaukee close to $36 million.
Apparently the pot just wasn't sweet enough, though, as Ellis turned down the reported extension offer for reasons we can only speculate about. The extension would have carried him into his age-30 season, presumably giving him one more opportunity to sign a large contract. In contrast, a four or five year deal beginning next season could mean negotiating a new deal after another year or two of decline. It's the same logic many have used to justify the expectation Ellis will opt-out of his current contract by the June 20 deadline.
On the other hand, getting a longer-term deal now insulates Ellis a bit more against injury or a decline in skill, if he expects such in the next few years. Deep self-awareness is hardly something we've come to expect from Monta, but his agent surely has the guard's future career in mind and is likely to direct him on the path that should yield the most money over the remainder of his playing days. As such, the restrictions on contract extensions are the primary obstacle Ellis has to contend with.
The reported extension offered by the Bucks is the maximum allowable as a contract extension, but not the biggest contract they could give Ellis. If Ellis opts out and re-signs with Milwaukee as a Bird Free Agent, he would be eligible for a larger starting salary, more years, and bigger raises from year-to-year. It's a similar situation to what the Bucks went through with John Salmons in 2010 and (I think) what the team that happens to employ Dwight Howard goes through every single year.
There's no telling for sure whether the Bucks plan on offering Ellis an even more lucrative contract should he become a free agent this summer, or if they would pull back at a price much higher than the extension figures. If they want to keep him for a few years, the extension would have conceivably held down costs a bit, assuming another team out there will throw mega-bucks his way in free agency. There's also the possibility that Ellis' rejection of the extension isn't just a comment on the financials, but on his desire to remain in Milwaukee at all. Still, the apparent desire on the Bucks' part to keep Monta in town, combined with his possibly ridiculous asking price, is sure to leave many unsettled.
From Chad Ford's draft blog:
I'm hearing that German point guard Dennis Schroeder struggled in his workouts in Milwaukee and Houston. Schroeder, according to team sources, struggled to keep up with the defensive intensity in workouts. He works out again Friday in Utah. Schroeder rode a dominant performance at the Hoop Summit into the top 30, but if he doesn't start playing better, he could be in for an equally significant decline.
Schröder's stock has been fluctuating pretty wildly, likely a function of his international status and the inherent difficulty in translating stats from European Leagues. He wowed in some international competitions but apparently hasn't fared as well in individual team workouts. I find it a bit surprising that his struggles were related to "defensive intensity" considering one of his biggest selling points was supposedly his defense. Miami's Shane Larkin has been consistently mentioned as a favorite of the Bucks among point guards, but mock drafts seem split between the two prospects: in his latest mock Ford places Schröder with the Jazz at 14 and Larkin with the Bucks at 15; DraftExpress reverses the two.
Twitter / ESPNSteinLine
Then there's this little bomb:
New Raptors front-office boss Masai Ujiri, I'm told, is making hard push to hire Jeff Weltman away from Milwaukee— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 5, 2013
That tweet is a few days old and there hasn't been any additional news on the subject, but considering Weltman was a finalist for the GM job with the Phoenix Suns back in 2010 and was considered again this summer before the Suns hired Ryan McDonough away from the Boston Celtics, it's clear his talents are highly regarded around the league. Ujiri's surprise move from Denver to Toronto means he'll be building a new organization, and the analytically-savvy Weltman would make a great addition. One interesting wrinkle: the Toronto Raptors are one of the teams at the forefront of the SportVU video-tracking revolution, and the Bucks were also one of the first teams to install the system in their arena. Weltman is surely very familiar with the system.
Weltman signed a three-year extension at the same time as John Hammond, and the Bucks don't have to grant him an interview with the Raptors if it's a lateral move. Regardless, Bucks fans should be hoping Weltman stays put, and maybe wishing the team would listen to him a bit more.