Today, the NBA announced that Monta Ellis and Reggie Bullock violated the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program and will be suspended for the first five games of next season.
The Pacers signed Ellis two years ago to a 4-year deal worth $44 million with a player option for the final season. If the Pacers release Ellis before the end of next season, they will eliminate his player option for the final year as well (which is the same scenario that allowed the Pacers to release Rodney Stuckey late this season).
This signing seems to get worse every year that passes for the Pacers, but this suspension likely won’t make the Pacers worse for those first five games next season. The Pacers won’t miss Ellis on the court, but it does hurt the Pacers chances of trading him away in search of cap space to improve the team in order to persuade Paul George to stay after next season. This already wasn’t going to be an easy task with his skills rapidly declining, and now it gets even harder for Pritchard to find a team willing to take him.