Everyone knows Golden State is as dysfunctional of an organization as there is in the NBA, from their front office feuds down to Don Nelson's grudges against players, so when Tim Kawakami of the San Francisco Chronicle recently suggested that Monta Ellis wasn't happy with Nelson and would eventually demand a trade, no one batted an eye.
Well, no one except Ellis.
After his first full practice of the season yesterday, Ellis tried his best to pour water on the rumor, pledging his love for his head coach and his allegiance to the organization as a whole.
"Listen, whatever it is about me leaving, wanting to go, I don't want to play for Nellie - that never came from my mouth," Ellis said Tuesday. "I don't know where they got that from, but I'm here for the next six years. I'm a Warrior. I'm going to always be a Warrior. Whoever put that out there did it because they wanted a story.
"I'm making it known right now that I'm a Warrior," he continued. "I love playing for Nellie, and I never said (otherwise), not one time. So you don't have to worry about that. ... Only thing I'm worried about is getting back on the basketball court."
Kawakami wasn't present at the practice but heard about the comments and stood his ground on his blog:
Uhh, folks, that's what Ellis has to say every second up until the moment he chooses to decide that he doesn't like the Warriors any more, if he decides that.
[...] Didn't Al Harrington say how "those words didn't come from me" or something to that effect on the day I reported that he'd asked to be traded, just about an hour before he formally asked to be traded?
If I had to choose, I'm siding with Kawakami on this one. He's been on target in the past, and if you're familiar with his blog, you know that he has an open line of communication with Ellis' agent.
And seriously, what would you expect Ellis to say? That he's still annoyed at being fined $3 million for his moped mishap and hopes to get traded at the earliest convenience? If that's truly his end goal, the best thing possible for him to do is get on Nelson's good side so he can play as many minutes as possible, re-building his trade value and erasing concerns about the $66 million extension he just signed.
(hat-tip: Can't Stop the Bleeding)