With July 1st continuing to draw near, now is the perfect time to figure out where the top free agents will end up. This summer, the best shooting guard available will be Monta Ellis, as he is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Many organizations will be in the hunt for a two guard, and once free agency opens this summer, Ellis will be a player in high demand.
But which franchise will end up obtaining his services?
In my opinion, the team which will acquire the 6'3 scorer will be the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta will have a ton of cap space this offseason (around $42 mil), as everyone on their roster except for 3 players will either have a team/player option or be completely off the books. With so much room to spend, Atlanta will have an advantage over any other team in need of a shooting guard because they can offer Ellis the most amount of money. Monta's ability to score and create his own shot will demand a contract worth at least $10 mil a year, and other organizations in need of his services won't possess the cap room needed to fork over that much money. The other teams which will most likely compete for his services include the Dallas Mavericks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Phoenix Suns. While all of these teams are under the $60 mil cap, they all will have team salaries totaling more than $50 mil. Since none of these franchises will be contending in the playoffs anytime soon, it is likely Ellis will accept the offer which pays him the highest amount of cash.
So now, only one question remains: why would the Hawks pay big for Monta?
Well, Atlanta is in desperate need of a starting-quality shooting guard who is capable of putting points on the board in a hurry. Last season, the Hawks hardly ever started a true two guard, instead playing point guard Lou Williams and small forward Kyle Korver out of position. If this organization adds Ellis to their backcourt, they will be able to play everybody in their proper positions, allowing for less defensive mis-matches as a result. Also, power forward Josh Smith is expected to leave in free agency, so the team needs to add someone who is capable of providing as much scoring as Smith did. Obviously, the franchise needs to address their four spot, but with the amount of spending room they possess, it should not be a problem for the Hawks to fill this hole as well.
The Atlanta Hawks face many questions heading into July. Monta Ellis would be the perfect addition alongside point guard Jeff Teague in the backcourt.