Report: Pacers sign shooting guard Ellis for 4 years, $44 million

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The Indiana Pacers got the shooting guard they wanted.

Monta Ellis has agreed to terms with the Pacers on a four-year deal worth $44 million, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday. The deal includes a player option for the final year. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced. The contract cannot be signed until July 9.

Ellis gives the Pacers a better chance of making a smooth transition from the plodding, half-court offense they used to make the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014 to an up-tempo style that is flourishing around the league.

President of basketball operations Larry Bird has been talking about making the switch since a season-ending loss left Indiana out of last season's playoffs. Bird watched the Pacers' summer league team work out inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday, but left without taking questions.

"The first thing is how hard it's going to be to play the way Larry wants us to play," assistant coach Dan Burke said after running practice with Indiana's summer league team. "It's hard."

Having Ellis around should make things easier, though.

He averaged 18.9 points and 4.1 assists in his second season with Dallas last year. And though he only shot 28.5 percent on 3-pointers, Ellis adds scoring punch on a team that finished 24th in the league in points per game mostly without the injured Paul George.

As George gets closer to his old self and Bird continues making moves this offseason, the Pacers could have a drastically different look when they line up next season.

Combo guard George Hill now seems likely to play more minutes at the point. Ellis, C.J. Miles and George should all provide perimeter scoring. Bird and coach Frank Vogel have already said two-time All-Star center Roy Hibbert will probably log fewer minutes in 2015-16 before he opted into the final year of his contract. Power forward David West opted out of his deal, worth more than $12 million, and George is expected to play some minutes in West's old spot next season.

More help could come from first-round draft pick Myles Turner, a 6-foot-11, 238-pound athletic post player.

"Myles could be a four or a five based on what I saw today," Burke said. "He's going to be a unique talent."

But Ellis' decision also bodes well for the Pacers.

A second person with knowledge of the negotiations told AP that Ellis turned down a $48 million offer from Sacramento. The dysfunction inside the Kings' organization was exposed before the draft when coach George Karl, vice president Vlade Divac and team owner Vivek Ranadive feuded publicly about the possibility of dealing DeMarcus Cousins.

Another possible factor: Taxes. Indiana's state income tax is significantly lower than California's, allowing Ellis to keep more of his own money.

Either way, it's a win for the Pacers who are trying to position themselves as a title contender.

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