A first-round pick by the Lakers in 1962 (sixth overall), Ellis finished his 14-year NBA career with 8,709 rebounds (46th on the all-time list), 2,746 of which he collected during two stints in Los Angeles.
The 6-foot-11 forward led the Lakers in rebounds during the 1965-66 season with a career-high 735. His 133 rebounds during the playoffs were second-best on the team as it progressed to the NBA Finals, losing to the Celtics. Ellis also had his best scoring year with the Lakers that season (972 points, 12.2 per game).
That offseason Ellis was traded to the Baltimore Bullets for Jim Barnes, only to return five years later via a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for a second-round pick. Ellis’ role was diminished the second time around for the the Lakers – his minutes were down from 2,219 in 1965-55 to 1,081 in 1971-72 and his 4.2-rebound average was fifth-best on the team – but he won the only NBA championship of his career that season when the Lakers defeated the Knicks in the NBA Finals.
Ellis and John Trapp were traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Bill Bridges and Mel Counts in Nov. 1972.