A few alarmists sounded bells before Monta Ellis rejoined the Warriors post-suspension. Well, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sounded the bells. Kawakami repeated his opinion that Ellis would eventually come to blows with the franchise over their suspension and their threat to void his contract over that mo-ped accident. Once Ellis returned to the court all smiles and driving lay-ups, Kawakami calmed a bit but still held that Ellis' mood could turn this summer ... if the Warriors didn't have a change of heart first.
Now Kawakami's colleague Marcus Thompson III of the Contra Costa Times reports that Ellis has left the team in protest for a week, and is noticeably discontented in team interactions.
To be honest, I understand where Ellis' rage comes from. It comes from fear and mistrust. Chris Cohan has reserved the right to void the rest of Monta's $66 million contract. The team has already taken $3 million of the first year's $11 million because of the accident that cost Ellis half his season. Ellis, by accounts still on a gimpy ankle, is playing right now with no assurance he'll have a contract this summer ... as the league slips into its share of the global financial Armageddon. Yeah, I'd be worried too.
Don Nelson has (apparently) turned into an unlikely ally of upper management, which means he's on the wrong side of Ellis, from Ellis' viewpoint. And Nellie isn't trying to win above all else. The "youth movement" (even though Ellis is still a kid) doesn't bode well for someone who may or may not be playing for a new contract.
Thompson reports that Ellis ditched the team photo last week, has talked about trade demands on the court, and has been chronically late to practices and shoot-arounds. This week, he skipped Golden State's four-game road trip due to injury ... but packed up some luggage to head off somewhere. His agent tells Thompson that Ellis will be back in Oakland when the Warriors get there, but this looks like it's all going downhill fast.
If the Warriors end up voiding Ellis' contract, he won't likely get $55 million in this market. But $40-45 million for five years seems doable, depending on what the tape shows about his ankle. (I watched 1-1/2 of his return games; to be honest, the ankle didn't stand out, which tells me it's not too bad. Or I was drunk and drooling over Anthony Randolph. One of those.) Obviously, should the Warriors tear up the contract, Ellis would sue the Warriors, maybe for the difference in his current deal and whatever new deal he signs. Perhaps Golden State will look to trade him first, though I don't imagine too many teams (as lust-worthy as Ellis has been) want to help the Warriors fix a problem so easily.