Lakers' Rumors: Pros and Cons of L.A. Targeting Monta Ellis

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJune 19, 2013

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 21:  Monta Ellis #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on April 21, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NBA free agency period got quite a bit more interesting with the development that Monta Ellis will opt out of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and test the market. 

This latest news comes from Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine, who acknowledged the Los Angeles Lakers' interest in the 27-year-old shooting guard. 

The eight-year NBA veteran is averaging 19.4 points for his career and led the Bucks with 19.2 points per contest in 2012-13. He also dished out six assists per game last season while playing alongside Brandon Jennings. 

A potential move to L.A. for Ellis begs many storylines as well as positives and negatives that would be brought to the forefront. Here's a look at the biggest pros and cons in an Ellis-to-the-Lakers move.


Pro: Dwight Howard Would Love It

In Broussard's report, he was quick to note after stating the Lakers' interest that Dwight Howard has a close friendship with Ellis and would look kindly on his return to the West Coast. 

Here's what Broussard's report says about the two:

Ellis, who originally signed a six-year, $66 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, is close with Lakers free agent Dwight Howard. The two have long desired to play together.

If Howard cannot achieve his top goal of playing with Chris Paul, teaming up with Ellis may become an option he would strongly consider.

There you have it. The Lakers have reasons No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 why they should start courting Ellis. 

NBA free agency cycles have been fueled by star players' desires to unite and form a super-alliance, so it's no surprise that these types of storylines are again dominating the league. 

Howard has every right to be worried about his long-term success with the Lakers, as Kobe Bryant enters the twilight of his career and no other true game-changer is on the roster. A move for a player of Ellis' ability might be just enough to convince Howard to stay. 


Con: Low Efficiency Poses Major Concerns

There's no doubting the fact that Ellis is one of the most trigger-happy guards in the league, and that can come back to bite you just as much as it can reap success.

In 2012-13, it hurt him more than anything. Despite leading his team in points, Ellis' .416 field goal average was poor, to say the least. 

He has shown a great knack for distributing the ball as a shooting guard, and won't hog the ball by any means. But he'll take his fair share of looks, with not many of them high-percentage shots.

Lakers' fans have enjoyed more than a decade of Bryant taking over games with his shooting ability, and they'll unnecessarily compare Ellis to him when he's throwing up 20 shots per night. 

Ellis brings many positive attributes to the table, but his shooting efficiency is not one of them.


Pro: Immediate Boost to Help Offset Kobe's Absence

As Bryant moves further and further along in his rehabilitation process for a torn Achilles, the reality sinks in more that L.A. will be starved for production at the guard position until his return.

While the Lakers remain confident that Kobe will be able to return to the floor for the 2013-14 season opener (per USA Today), that notion is incredibly difficult to entertain as that would only given Bryant about six months to recover.

Whether Bryant is able to return to the floor or not, he won't be able to match the same type of production early on that his team relied on heavily just to get to the playoffs last season. The Lakers will need someone other than Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks to look to.

That's where Ellis comes in. His potential arrival in L.A. would take mounds of pressure off of Bryant, allowing him more time and opportunities to recover from a serious injury. 

There's nobody in the world who would think that Ellis could replace Bryant, but it would help to offset the issue at the very least. 


Con: Would Prevent Ability to Sign Another Max Player

The Lakers don't have much financial flexibility in this free agency period if Howard decides to re-sign with L.A. The signing of Ellis would likely be the end of their big moves this summer.

Los Angeles hasn't been linked to names such as Chris Paul as yet, but ESPN the Magazine's Broussard noted that there have been talks about Howard and CP3 communicating about uniting on the same team. Though, it's unclear how receptive the Lakers would be to giving up their superstar player to the in-town rival. 

Paul has been courted by the Lakers before successfully, but the NBA stepped in and nixed the deal. So there's no reason other than his love for the Clippers that Paul wouldn't at least entertain the notion this summer.

Of course, it's unclear if the Lakers would be able to navigate such a move financially without amnestying Bryant. If that's even a consideration, then bringing in Ellis would undoubtedly shut down any possibility of L.A. grabbing Paul or any other elite player.