Sixers aren't the only team interested in Ellis

Ellis
Ellis
Posted: June 13, 2011

Monta Ellis has become very popular over the last week, apparently even with his own team.

As reports surfaced early last week that the Golden State Warriors and Sixers have talked about a trade of Ellis for Andre Iguodala, new Warriors coach Mark Jackson said he would like Ellis to remain in Golden State.

"I want Monta Ellis on this basketball team," Jackson told reporters at his introductory news conference. "This guy is a big-time player. And I think he's the third best shooting guard in the league. You have Kobe, obviously, and Dwyane Wade. I will match [Ellis] up against anybody else on a given night and feel extremely comfortable about it."

Jackson did admit that Ellis could improve defensively.

"You can nitpick what he can and can't do, but at the end of the day, a coach will look brilliant if he has a guy who can go make a play," Jackson said. "He's a flat-out scorer. He's a much-improved, underrated passer and facilitator. He's a guy I embrace on this team . . . He's an outstanding player who I look forward to coaching."

Of course, that also might be posturing in order to help drive up Ellis' value. Reports in the Bay area have described an Ellis deal as inevitable.

Once word leaked about the possible Sixers trade, a number of teams have called the Warriors about Ellis, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper cited Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis, Orlando, Portland and the Lakers as having also shown interest, according to league sources.

The 6-3 Ellis could be the scorer the Sixers are searching for, as he averaged 24.1 points last season and 25.5 the season before.

Both Iguodala and Ellis have 3 years remaining on their contracts, with Iguodala scheduled to make a little less than $43 million while Ellis will get about $33 million.

Sixers president Rod Thorn said last week that he has talked to "over 20 teams" in recent weeks about "a variety of things."

With the sale of the team to a group led by Joshua Harris expected to be announced shortly, the Sixers' basketball brass remains focused on improving the team. Another group of draft prospects is scheduled for workouts on Wednesday. The Sixers have the No. 16 and No. 50 selections in the June 23 draft.

Sixers assistant general manager Tony DiLeo and director of player personnel Courtney Witte have been in Italy at the adidas Eurocamp to look at some of the top European prospects.

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