Sporting KC

Will Kevin Ellis be with Sporting Kansas City in 2018?

Kevin Ellis dribbles the ball around Portland’s Ben Zemanski during a July game for Sporting Kansas City.
Kevin Ellis dribbles the ball around Portland’s Ben Zemanski during a July game for Sporting Kansas City. Special to The Star

Four months after homegrown defender Kevin Ellis and Sporting Kansas City mutually agreed to take a leave of absence from each other, Ellis remains on the club’s roster.

But will he still be a member of Sporting KC when the 2018 season begins?

The short answer: It’s unlikely.

Sporting KC has received calls from other MLS teams gauging Ellis’ availability through trade. Sporting KC appears open to considering those offers, but nothing is imminent.

Ellis agreed to take the leave of absence last September — it was not a suspension — after the two sides were “not seeing eye to eye on some things,” sources close to both parties confirmed. The split had nothing to do with incidents involving his teammates.

Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, Ellis can join the team for the MLS preseason later this month if he desires. The CBA forbids individual teams from suspending players.

MLS teams arrived in Orlando on Friday for the combine. The presence of every team’s front office personnel in one location often triggers trade negotiations within the league.

Sporting KC is in the market for a backup center back after the departure of Erik Palmer-Brown to Europe this offseason. If the club does elect to trade Ellis, Amer Didic would be the top backup behind starters Matt Besler and Ike Opara.

Ellis’ contract expires after the 2018 season.

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