- Chris Broussard, NBA analyst
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Monta Ellis, one of the premier free agents remaining on the market, has whittled his list to four teams and is hoping to choose his destination within the next 36 to 48 hours, a source close to the situation said on Tuesday.
Having turned down a contract extension offer from Milwaukee last season that would have paid him $36 million in the next three years, he is hoping to land a deal in that price range.
The clubs pursuing him all would have to make personnel moves to get Ellis near that number.
Atlanta is looking to replace Jeff Teague with Ellis, and a sign-and-trade deal with Milwaukee is a strong possibility. New Bucks coach Larry Drew, who coached Teague last season in Atlanta, is hoping for a reunion in Milwaukee. One possible holdup to an Ellis-for-Teague swap is the question of what the Bucks would do with restricted free agent Brandon Jennings, who already has received a qualifying offer from the team.
New Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was a longtime assistant in San Antonio, and he views Ellis as a point guard in the mold of Tony Parker, according to a source.
Sacramento already has made Ellis an offer, but to get to his desired price, the Kings are considering moving Marcus Thornton, a source said. Kings coach Mike Malone is familiar with Ellis, having coached him as an assistant on Golden State's staff.
The Mavericks' Plan B, following their failed attempt to sign Dwight Howard, is to land both Andrew Bynum and Ellis. The Mavericks believe Ellis can play in the backcourt next to Jose Calderon. In order to make competitive offers to both Bynum and Ellis, the Mavs are shopping Shawn Marion and his $9 million expiring contract. So far, however, they've found no takers.
Finally, Charlotte, which already has made a big free-agent signing in acquiring Al Jefferson, is waiting on word from their shooting guard, Gerald Henderson. If they are able to retain Henderson, they'll move on from Ellis. If not, the Bobcats may try to move some players in order to create room to sign Ellis.
3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann