Apparently, that door to the Dallas Mavericks is still open for Monta Ellis.
One day after the veteran shooting guard announced that he will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Mavs and become an unrestricted free agent, coach Rick Carlisle said there’s a chance Ellis could return and play for the Mavs next season.
Prior to Thursday’s NBA Draft, Carlisle said a reunion with Ellis could be possible if — when he tests free agency — he doesn’t find what he’s searching for.
“There’s always a possibility that he could rejoin us, and if that was to happen I would love the opportunity to work with him again,’’ Carlisle said. “He and I communicated again last night through text and I let him know how important he was to us, to this organization and to me as the coach, and we wish him the very best.
Never miss a local story.
“Again, I let him know if he was to circle around and come back to us I look forward to working to with him again, because he grew a lot these last couple of years and he really helped us a lot.’’
Ellis led the Mavs in scoring (18.9) and steals (1.9) this past season and was the team’s primary go-to player.
Ellis was slated to collect $8.7 million next season, but decided to throw him name into the free agency hat in hopes of collecting a bigger payday.
“We’re talking about leading scorer the last two years, and a guy that’s really, to be totally truthful about it, a guy that got us back into the playoffs the last couple of years,’’ Carlisle said. “Without him I don’t know if we would have been able to do it — he was that important to us.
“He’s a guy I enjoyed working with tremendously and we knew that there was a strong possibility that he would exercise his option to opt out to become a free agent.’’
The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are two of the teams that reportedly have interest in signing Ellis. And if he can’t find a comfortable suitor, the Mavs will welcome him back with open arms.
“Guys like him end up going places in July most of the time,’’ Carlisle said. “But you just never know.
“I know that some teams with strong interest in him. And there is a fair amount of cap room out there this summer, so there’s clearly a lot going on with him and a lot of other free agents, too.’’