The Indiana Pacers are heading into an offseason that will be crucial to the future of their franchise. Larry Bird made the move to let Frank Vogel go and hire Nate McMillan as the new head coach and there are a lot of reasons to believe that they will be active this offseason in trades and free agency as they look to get back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Monta Ellis was signed last offseason, and many thought he'd be a perfect fit as the No. 2 scorer alongside of Paul George. That didn't end up being the case, as Ellis didn't seem to fit that well into Vogel's offense.
He struggled with consistency throughout the season, although there were flashes of brilliance. Ellis was much more willing to pass and at times seemed too willing to pass. Now there are question marks about his future with the Pacers and whether the franchise views him as a long-term fit.
According to HoopsHype, the Pacers have made Ellis available in trade talks and could move him this offseason.
At 30-years-old, Ellis still has a few good years of basketball left in him. If he stays in Indiana, he will likely continue being the team's starting shooting guard. Indiana could also find a trade partner, although he will likely end up starting no matter where he ends up.
Bird is not the type of general manager to give up talent like Ellis easily. He would have to find a deal that would give the Pacers a better fit or more talent in order to make the move.
Perhaps the Pacers will look to package the No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft with Ellis to make a move. There are quite a few teams looking to make draft night deals on Thursday and the Pacers are one of them. Ellis could be of interest to a serious title contender looking for an extra scoring punch.
Rumors will swirl around the Pacers this offseason with the changes that they are undergoing and the need to surround superstar forward Paul George with more talent. They cannot afford to continue coming up short if they want to keep George long-term.
Expect to hear Ellis' name brought up in trade talks in the coming weeks. Indiana could move him this week in a draft related move, but that doesn't seem too terribly likely. Ellis will need to break out with a big season in 2016-17 to prove that he isn't losing the battle with age and you can bet that he is working hard after the frustration of last season to get back to a high level of play.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should trade Monta Ellis this offseason? What teams do you think should target him if the Pacers do want to deal him? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by AP Photo/R Brent Smith]