Monta Ellis Situation “Close To Popping Off”

By: 06.16.09

Monta Ellis

Last we heard from Golden State, they were focusing their pre-draft workouts on yet another wing player, so that they’d have a small militia of guys between 6-5 and 6-9. But earlier this week, all of those lofty draft plans were temporarily put on hold when GSW GM Larry Riley and Don Nelson flew to Atlanta to meet with a very unhappy Monta Ellis.

For weeks we’ve heard that Ellis is no longer interested in playing for Golden State, and apparently it had reached a point where it was “close to popping off” in the words of one NBA executive—meaning going to the media and publicly demanding a trade.

General Manager Larry Riley and head coach Don Nelson reportedly flew to Atlanta to meet with Ellis this week, and basically have made every attempt possible to defuse the situation, at the very least in order to not lose leverage in any trade talk they will inevitably be involved in. One NBA executive we spoke with believes that Ellis was promised that the Warriors will not be picking a point guard with the #7 pick, and that he will be the one running the show for them next year.

In some ways, that might be a good thing for the Warriors, as a number of top point guard prospects are currently refusing to work out for them. According to Draft Express, Jrue Holiday, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry won’t work out in the Bay.

If the Warriors let Monta and these four guys dictate their draft plans, will they be headed in the right direction? Let’s say they go with 6-10 PF Jordan Hill with the 7th pick. Stephen Jackson, Jamal Crawford, Anthony Morrow and Corey Maggette will all spend time playing the two and three. Hill and Anthony Randolph can split time playing the four, and Andris Biedrins/Ronny Turiaf will hold it down at the five.

That roster is virtually no different from last year’s. Clearly it didn’t work out too well during that last go-round. The only real difference would be Monta’s health and happiness – is that enough to turn GSW from a disaster into a contender?

Source: Draft Express

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