Guard Ellis inks $66 million deal to stay with Warriors

Updated: August 27, 2008, 2:20 PM ET
By Chris Broussard | ESPN The Magazine

The Golden State Warriors have found their replacement for All-Star point guard Baron Davis -- and they didn't have to look far. Thursday night, the Warriors signed Monta Ellis, their 22-year-old restricted free agent, to a six-year, $66 million contract.

Ellis

Ellis is receiving one of the largest raises in NBA history. As the 40th player selected in the 2005 draft, Ellis was paid just $770,610 last season. He will earn $11 million in 2008-2009.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Monta under contract for the next several years," Warriors vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin told The Associated Press. "He has been one of the top young players in the NBA for the last two years and enjoyed a tremendous season last year. The growth that he has demonstrated at such a young age is incredible and we look forward to him playing a big part in our future success."

The 6-foot-3-inch Ellis averaged 20.2 points as the Warriors' starting shooting guard last season, but with Davis signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, he will be penciled in as Don Nelson's point guard on opening night.

"We are very pleased that Monta has been rewarded for his efforts on the court and his singular focus to be a great NBA player,'' Ellis' agent Jeff Fried said.

Golden State's plan is to start Ellis and Stephen Jackson in the backcourt, with free-agent signee Corey Maggette at small forward.

Ellis has become one of the league's most dynamic and efficient young guards. He shot a stunning 53.1 percent from the floor last season, ranking him 14th in the league overall and the highest among players shorter than 6-7.

Ellis, who is entering his fourth season, has career averages of 15.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

Earlier Thursday, the Warriors announced that shooting guard Kelenna Azubuike would return after the club matched the Clippers' three-year, $9 million offer sheet.

Chris Broussard is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.