Maybe Monta Ellis could be happy as a Golden State Warrior(s) if the team fired Don Nelson. But….that’s not going to happen, and it probably wouldn’t be enough to pacify the Warriors’ “star” anyway.
We could start by going all the way back to the moped incident, the fine and all that, but there’s been enough strife over the month that it’s not even necessary. A sampling:
1. Moped started training camp by welcoming Stephen Curry to the team with the now-infamous rant that featured this gem of a quote: “You can’t put two small guys out there and try to play the 1 and the 2 when you’ve got big 2 guards in the league. You just can’t do it.” It’s funny because it’s true.
2. Monta put more effort into playing defense in the first week than during he had during his entire career up to that point. In other words, he played tough on-ball defense and gambled for steals for about 10 minutes per game. More on this in a little bit.
3. Don Nelson and Monta got into a fight that was detailed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Apparently Nellie gave Monta crap for being late to practice due to getting his ankle taped, and Monta whined, “Coach, why do I get blamed for everything?” It wasn’t reported whether Nellie sent Ellis to bed without dessert.
4. Monta pretty much threw down the gauntlet in an amazing interview with MTIII about the Stephen Jackson trade, where he promised to not to work any harder, ripped the “young” players, talked as if he was the Warriors’ version of Michael Cooper and pretty much paved his way out of town:
What did you think when you found out?
(laughs) It was amazing to me. I couldn’t believe it at first. It is what it is, man. I’m gonna miss him. We gonna miss him. I went to see him before he left. It seemed like he was happy. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy.
How tough will it be to lose one of your best players?
It was tough when we had him. (laughs) Losing him, it’s going to be tough. But we’ve got to find a way to get through it, man. I wish him the best. Now, it’s on us. That’s what they wanted, so they got it.
Will you have to do more to make up for the loss?
I’m not (going to) put no more on my back. Somebody else gonna have to step up. I’m not gonna do more, somebody else gonna have to step up and take on the role that Jack had and be that player. But I’m not putting no more extra on my back.
Do you feel a need to be more vocal?
Nope. Uh, uh. Not at all
What do you guys lose with Jack gone?
No. 1, besides his scoring and the ability to make the extra pass. What we’ve been emphasizing the whole time is defense. That’s one of our best defenders on the team. And we’re trying to get better as a defensive team. And now, who we got now that’s going to play defense? We got me. And who else?
Raja Bell is a good defender
I don’t know too much about dude. I mean (pause) it’s crazy, man.
Jack was your best friend on the team. Will you bond with another teammate?
I’m close to all my teammates. I’m still gonna do what we do. We’re going to hang out the way we’ve been hanging out. It ain’t going to be no different. We lost one of our close friends. That’s it. But, hey, life goes on. I’mma talk to him every day. He’s going to talk to me every day. Still going to be like he’s here. So I’m not tripping. Like I said, as long as he’s happy, I’m happy.
So you’re happy. OK. Cool.
I’m happy that he’s happy, yeah.
But you’re not happy?
Yeah. I just said I’m happy that he’s happy. (Laughs)
What’s going to be the key going forward?
Our young guys gotta pay more attention and learn the game more. They probably need to watch more film and sit back and really evaluate the game more, and better.
5. Jeff Fried, Monta’s agent, flew to the Bay Area to chat with the Warriors’ brass, which can only mean one thing: TRADE DEMAND!!!
Monta’s as good as gone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s not the brightest bulb, his attitude has gotten worse with each tattoo applied to his mural-esque arms (not that those two things are related, even though Nellie made that comment referencing Monta’s and Jackson’s tats a few days ago) and his ankle could explode at any time. Also, like Ellis himself said, he’s an undersized 2-guard who’s ill-suited to play with Curry, who at this point seems like a much surer bet for the Dubs than waiting for Monta to come around and magically turn into an adult.
But who do the Warriors try to acquire, and what NBA teams are really excited about the possibility of adding a combo guard whose biggest weakness is decision making?
Kobe loves Monta’s game (wow, that was weird, as I typed Kobe’s name Method Man said “Kobe” at the same time — I’m listening to “Blackout 2” right now, and it’s pretty awesome … much better than the first Meth & Red album), but it’s hard to imagine the Warriors taking a package of a Lakers first-rounder, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Adam Morrison/Luke Walton. Well, let’s hope so for the Warriors’ sake.
I could go into the trade machine and figure out about 100 trades, but I don’t have that kind of time. However, if I’m Larry Riley Don Nelson, and I don’t give a shit how the rest of this season goes (but understand that the Warriors’ future rests on getting cap room and somehow convincing a star to come play with Curry, Anthony Randolph and the boys), here’s what I do:
Call the Celtics, and offer them Monta and Corey Maggette for Ray Allen’s expiring contract.
Sounds crazy, right? But Allen has been dangled out there before, and the Celtics are over the luxury tax. Letting Allen’s contract expire doesn’t mean they can do anything in the 2010 free agent shopping spree, and Eddie House is playing big minutes. As gloomy as Monta is, and as awful as Maggette often looks in a Warriors uniform, both would be on their best behavior in Boston, giving them the depth they’ll surely need as the season drags on.
I know, wishful thinking. The Celtics didn’t get back to the top by making moves like this, true, but Danny Ainge is weird. He’s the type of guy who would love the idea of getting these two guys for the next few years, and he seems like he might share Kobe’s love affair with Moped’s game. Rampant speculation, but if the Warriors could possibly package their two highest-paid players for an expiring contract they can finally get out of this mess that they’re in with Monta and their completely mismanaged roster. Weirder things have happened, like Monta Ellis claiming to be the best defender on the team he plays on.