June 20 marks the deadline to opt-into the final year of his current contract, or risk himself on the unrestricted free agent market. That contract is a carry-over from his time at Golden State, where he signed a six-year, and 66-million dollar deal in 2005. The option already put-in by the Warriors for the 2013 season guarantees Ellis 11-million dollars if stays and the extension offered by Milwaukee nets him another 25-million over the two-seasons.
Pushing 30, Ellis should be becoming injury-wary. The Bucks deal would provide support should anything catastrophic happen, something a year-by-year deal would fail to protect against. This free-agent cycle will likely be the last that Ellis sees himself as a high-profile target, however, as hitting the market at three-decades is a risky prospect. That fact may make the veteran weary of a deal that may symbolize the remainder of his career at its prime.
Should Ellis choose to stay in Milwaukee, it would provide the Bucks roster with its first sense of stability this off-season. In addition to Ellis, fellow guards J.J. Redick and Brandon Jennings will become free-agents this summer. The trio all but comprised the team's offensive threat in 2012, with Ellis leading the Bucks in scoring. He was also the only player to play all 82 games for the franchise last season.The Bucks are not being overly optimistic about their chances of retaining their back-court in 2013, including Ellis. Guards have dominated the team's pre-draft workouts thus-far, and experts heavily predict the team's first-round pick on June 27th will come from that corps. Glen Rice Jr., Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder are just a few of the names general manager John Hammond and new head coach Larry Drew have thrown out from those workouts, and both say they remain confident that the pieces will fall into place.
As for Ellis, some sources are already reporting counter-offers to the Bucks contract. A deal from Sacramento is carrying the most weight in the media this week, as recently hired head coach Mike Malone previously worked with the guard as an assistant in Oakland. The Kings are undergoing a renovation of their own, and Ellis could see an opportunity to become a leader in the newly owned franchise.