It’s been a few years since NBA fans last got to see Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis — two players who were able to carve out successful professional careers after bypassing the college ranks for the NBA. However, both players appear to be eyeing a comeback in the league, with the Los Angeles Lakers seemingly standing out as a preferred destination for these former prep phenoms.
On Wednesday night, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz took to Twitter, where he cited an unnamed source who claimed Stoudemire and Ellis will be holding private workouts for “at least” five teams in Las Vegas on July 8. He added that the two former NBA stars are currently healthy and are specifically hoping to join the Lakers or other “contending” teams. No information was shared regarding which exact teams Ellis and Stoudemire will be working out for, or which other expected championship contenders are being targeted.
The ninth overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft, Amar’e Stoudemire played in six All-Star Games and made five All-NBA selections in his career, averaging 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game over 14 seasons, according to his Basketball-Reference player page. The 36-year-old forward/center last played in the NBA for the Miami Heat before suiting up for Tri-State in the Big3 three-on-three basketball league and Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel, per the New York Post.
As noted by NBC Sports Bay Area, Monta Ellis last played in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers, where he averaged 8.5 points and 3.2 assists per game in the 2016-17 season. The 33-year-old shooting guard was then waived in July 2017 via the league’s stretch provision, which allowed the remaining $11.2 million on his last contract to be paid out over the next five seasons. While he was never named to an All-Star team during his 12-year NBA career, Ellis was once a prolific scorer for the Golden State Warriors, averaging a career-high 25.5 points along with four rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game in the 2019-10 campaign, per Basketball-Reference.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) July 4, 2019
Although Stoudemire and Ellis are tried-and-tested NBA talents who once posted big numbers in the league, the New York Post cautioned that the chances of a successful comeback for both players are “highly unlikely.” The outlet wrote that the two preps-to-pros stars were not known for their defensive ability during their time in the NBA, adding that their skillsets might not be a good fit for today’s faster-paced, higher-scoring brand of basketball.
Likewise, Bleacher Report predicted that Ellis and Stoudemire might be better off playing overseas, as interest in the two former standouts “appears unlikely.” The publication also noted how Ellis looked “done and disinterested” while playing for the Pacers and how Stoudemire’s long history of injuries would likely prevent him from holding up to a full 82-game schedule.