May 9, 2013, 1:06 PM EDT
If you wondered why everybody around the league thinks free agent Monta Ellis is bolting Milwaukee this summer (although he hasn’t made that official), we bring you this fun bit of news from the Bucks playoff run (if you can call getting swept by the Heat a run)…
Ellis and Bucks forward Larry Sanders almost had a locker room fight after Game 3 and had to be separated, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com. Because it never came to blows neither guy faced any discipline, but you can see what a messed up situation there was with the Bucks last season.
After the Bucks lost 104-91 to the Heat in Milwaukee on April 25, Sanders vented in the locker room and said in a fiery speech, “We need to start playing together as a team and stop worrying about next year,” according to one of the people briefed on the confrontation. “We need to stop being selfish and start worrying about right now.”
Ellis “took umbrage,” according to another person with knowledge of the situation. Correctly assuming that Sanders’ comments were directed primarily at him and backcourt mate Brandon Jennings, who both are prospective free agents, Ellis approached Sanders and squared off with him, sources said. A teammate got between the two players and separated them before the conflict became physical.
Interim coach Jim Boylan didn’t have control of the locker room and wasn’t going to stop this (which is why the Bucks want a “strong willed” new coach). Nor could he really get Ellis and Jennings to play smart basketball consistently, although every coach who has tried that has failed.
The Bucks are going to rework the roster pretty heavily this summer — Ellis will likely bolt, as will J.J. Redick. Jennings will try to bolt but the Bucks can match any offer he gets and likely will short of a max deal.
Also later in the story, Berger drops an interesting little note about the Kings maybe having interest in Ellis.
Oddly, a member of the proposed ownership group trying to keep the Kings in Sacramento has done some background checking on Ellis as a possibility for the Kings if the team decides to part ways with restricted free agent Tyreke Evans this summer, a league source involved in the discussions said.
Not sure that’s a good fit, but it’s something to watch.
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- Goran Dragic leading feisty Heat’s playoff push 29