Other teams are trying to figure out whether Milwaukee prefers Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings long-term, but Ellis’s semi-expiring contract could work as a “best of both worlds” centerpiece for the Grizz. Ellis doesn’t bring the reliable long-range shooting Memphis sorely needs, but he can be a productive scoring guard under the right circumstances, even if he’s sort of a super-charged Jerryd Bayless. The Grizz need some creativity off the bench, and they have plenty of defensive stalwarts to cover for one sieve. A package of Ellis and Doron Lamb works and gets Memphis under the tax. The Bucks could put seldom-used Tobias Harris in Lamb’s spot, giving Memphis a promising small forward and opening up the wing a bit more for Gay.
Small forward is already very crowded in Milwaukee, with Mike Dunleavy Jr., Marquis Daniels, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute splitting minutes. Dealing Ellis would leave a giant hole at shooting guard, but it’s the kind of move a team in Milwaukee’s place — small market, unattractive to elite free agents — might make with the future in mind more than the present. If you can’t get an “A” star with the kind of cap room Milwaukee might have this summer, why not take a shot at an overpaid “B” star in the hope he develops into an “A-” guy on your dime? Milwaukee’s cap room for this summer depends on Ellis declining his own player option anyway, and the Bucks could make up the difference between Ellis’s deal and Gay’s by using the amnesty provision (remember that?) on Drew Gooden.
The Bucks have never liked the idea of paying Gooden (or anyone else) to go away, and my hunch is that they're not likely to get involved with Memphis here. But there might be a workable deal, especially if Gay wants out of the ultra-competitive Western Conference.