The Mavericks lost out on free agent Dwight Howard to their in-state rivals, Houston, this summer. But they did refurbish a backcourt that was trotting out journeyman Mike James as a starter towards the end of last season. The three guards the Mavs signed this summer as a result, Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Devin Harris, were formally introduced in Dallas today.
Dallas’ newest off-guard, Ellis, tip-toed around how unhappy he was during a disappointing 2012-13 season in Milwaukee. But he did tell the Associated Press he had to do “60 percent of everything” while playing in Milwaukee last season and earlier in his career with Golden State.
“When you’re in a place where you’re unhappy, it’s very hard to perform to your best ability,” Ellis continued. He didn’t elaborate except to add that he, “left it in Milwaukee.”
Ellis’ despondency while in Wisconsin might explain his bizarre decision to opt-out of the final year of a contract that would have paid him $11 million to stay with the Bucks next season, only to sign with Dallas for less annually over the course of his three-year deal.
It’s also why Ellis repeated all the right cliché’s about starting over during his introduction to Dallas.
“So this is a new beginning, a new fresh start, better organization, better teammates,” Ellis said. “It’s going to make everybody, everything a lot more better.” We agree that the Ellis signing might be the best thing to happen to the Mavs this summer, but there are plenty of other people who think he’ll be the same old Monta, chucking up long two-pointers early in the shot clock and generally disrupting the team’s offensive flow.
The important people within the Maverick’s organization, though, think he’s a great addition: Mark Cuban, new back-court partner, Jose Calderon and head coach, Rick Carlisle, only had positive things to say about their new off-guard.
Coach Carlisle would seem to be at odds with a player like Ellis; a score-first personality who isn’t known for playing hard defense. But Monta said Carlisle “took the initiative” to reach out to him after he signed.
“That was a great sign for me to know that he’s here for me,” Ellis continued. “He’s here for the team. Every player on the roster is the same. I heard that through a lot of players who played with him and I played with them. That’s his personality and I think it’s going to help us a lot.”
With the 27-year-old Ellis signing a three-year deal for $25 plus million, and the 31-year-old Calderon signing a four-year deal for $28 million, the Mavericks sure hope they help because the guards have cost the team close to $50 million in guaranteed money (though Ellis has a player option for the third year).
Said Cuban — who has been criticized for some of his decisions since Dallas won the title in 2011:
“I think we’ve got a good basketball IQ at the point guard with Jose and when Devin comes back. I think Monta is a smart basketball player whether he’s playing the one or the two. So I think we’re going to be able to do a lot more, a lot of different things than we were able to do last year.”
Rick Carlisle agrees, adding that, “It’s exciting to have this kind of new blood on our roster.”
Only time will tell whether Cuban and Carlisle are rewarded with an efficient Monta Ellis we haven’t really seen before, or the shoot-first ask questions later Monta we’ve all grown accustomed to watching.
How will Ellis do with the Mavs?
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