By Geoff Lepper
Your daily guided tour through the national and local media coverage of the always-entertaining Golden State Warriors.
Talking Points/San Jose Mercury News (Tim Kawakami):Setting the stage for Thursday’s potential showdown between Jeff Fried, Monta Ellis’ agent, and Warriors brass.
(Perhaps the NBA can hold a special “non-expansion dispersal” draft next summer to help the Warriors out after they sell off everything of value.)
Inside The Warriors/Contra Costa Times (Marcus Thompson II): This was from Monday, before Tim’s post, but now serves to amplify the depths of Ellis’ frustration.
Fast Break/San Jose Mercury News (Adam Lauridsen): Taking Ellis to task for not being willing to fill the void left behind by Stephen Jackson’s departure.
I don’t share his optimism, but Adam likes what he saw from the Jackson-less Warriors against Cleveland on Tuesday.
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND — Not much upstages LeBron James these days, but the Warriors managed it Thursday, announcing on their Web site that Monta Ellis will return Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After one moped accident, two surgeries, hundreds of hours of rehab, six practices and one critical meeting to discuss the six-year, $66 million contract that he placed in jeopardy, Ellis is set to step back onto the floor at Oracle Arena.
Warriors coach Don Nelson said on KNBR that Ellis will start Friday — presumably alongside Jamal Crawford — at the point and expects him to log somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.
“I was very concerned that he would maybe never be the same player again, because it was a very severe ankle (injury) — he severed two tendons in his ankle, and they had to surgically repair them and put pins in them and a whole bunch of stuff — and I was thinking he may never be the same again, but I can assure you that he will be,” Nelson said. “I’m watching him in practice and he’s coming back way faster than I thought. . . . I think he’ll be the same Monta we’ve grown to love and enjoy watching.”
Ellis only began practicing in 5-on-5 drills nine days ago, but has long felt that his ankle was 100 percent physically and that it was merely a matter of getting into basketball shape. In a sign of his anxiousness, he famously yelled, “Let me play!” after dunking at the Warriors’ shootaround Wednesday morning.
The deafening silence from Monta Ellis’ camp finally ended this evening when Jeff Fried, Ellis’ agent, released a statement on behalf of his client.
ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard has the full story here, and it confirms what Ellis made apparent yesterday with his no-comment brush past the local media: That he will be fighting the 30-game suspension handed down by the team after Ellis wracked his left ankle while engaging in the contractually prohibited activity of riding a 250cc moped. Broussard reported that the appeal will be filed next week.
Some highlights of Ellis’ statement:
“While management and I do not agree on their actions, I want to be clear that my injury is based on my mistake in judgment. And I always accept responsibility for my actions. . . .
“I am working hard to get back on the court and help my teammates and coaches win many games and recreate the playoff atmosphere of 2007. We were as excited on the court as the fans in the stands. . . .
“The Bay area has become home to me and I love everything about this community. I see the kids wearing Number 8 in the arena and around the Bay area and it always brings a big smile to my face and a sense of pride and responsibility.”
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND — Anthony Randolph may have stood alongside the Warriors’ four other rookies Sunday as they delivered an off-key, warbling rendition of Stevie Wonder’s arrangement of “Happy Birthday” to guard Monta Ellis, who just turned 23 years old. But that was about the only time Randolph resembled a rookie during Golden State’s annual open practice.
Randolph started early during the scrimmage session by dunking with relish over veteran Al Harrington. Later, he threatened to deliver a knee to Harrington’s sternum while swooping in for a layup. Finally, he shot a withering look to second-year guard Marco Belinelli when the Italian and he got tangled up filling the same lane on a fast break.
So much for rookies not making an impression.
Warriors captain Stephen Jackson helped keep Randolph in check by juking past him from the right wing and flushing a two-handed jam as the 19-year-old tried vainly to block it.
“They only remember the last dunk, so Jack got that,” Randolph said. “I got him. (Revenge) is coming. Y’all might not see it, but it’s coming.”
For his part, Harrington chalked up Randolph’s successes to a veteran’s prudence.
“I wasn’t trying to block the shot,” Harrington said of Randolph’s tomahawk. “That was fake hustle. You know that. Everybody knows that.”
And as for the retreat on Randolph’s knees-up drive?
“I got out of the way on that one,” said Harrington, who attempted to take a charge on Randolph earlier but was whistled for a block instead. “I could have got another (charge), but these refs probably would have called a blocking foul. He probably would have kneed off of me and dunked. It would have been all bad.”
** A team source confirmed the examiner.com report that rookie forward Rob Kurz will officially become the Warriors’ final cut Monday, an unsurprising move that secures a roster spot for fellow rookie guard Anthony Morrow.
It looked like Kurz might have been informed of the move prior to practice; his most memorable sequence involved getting blocked in quick succession by Kelenna Azubuike (while trying to exploit his size advantage in the low block) and Andris Biedrins.
** Ellis came dressed in an almost entirely monochromatic outfit (his sweatpants had white stripes on the outside), but unlike Johnny Cash, this Man in Black had nothing to say.
Ellis, moving briskly on crutches and wearing regular sneakers, walked past the assembled media outside the Warriors’ locker room (since it was still considered a…
Bill Ingram over at Hoopsworld had a blurb on his site last night regarding Monta Ellis that said in part, “we now have reports coming out that suggest the injury might cause Ellis to miss the entire season.”
Ingram did not cite any sources, so I’m not sure what reports he’s referring to. Three possible sources come to mind:
A) Web/print reports
B) Rumors coming from inside the Warriors’ organization
C) Talk from someone in Ellis’ camp
As for A) . . . I have not seen any reporting from Janny Hu, Marcus Thompson II or Matt Steinmetz — the other media members who cover the team on a daily basis — or anyone else, for that matter, that suggests Ellis is going to be out significantly beyond the mid-December target originally set forth by the team.
As for B) . . . I sent a copy of the Hoopsworld article to a team spokesman, requesting comment, but did not hear back before the team got on a plane back from China. However, no one I’ve spoken to from the team has brought up the idea of this being season-ending.
As for C) . . . well, that’s an intriguing thought; one potential way for Ellis to get back at the team for whacking him with a $3 million fine is by extending the timeframe he needs in order to be “fully recovered.” However, while I’m presuming Monta is not happy with the size of his fine, I don’t think there’s a realistic chance he would go to that kind of length to exact vengeance.
** While Ellis may not necessarily be in danger of missing the season, there is no doubt that the team is concerned about the possibility of him coming back too soon. The memories of Jason Richardson’s struggles to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery two years ago — a far simpler procedure than what Ellis has undergone — are still very fresh.
Richardson had his surgery at almost the same point in the preseason as Ellis — Aug. 22, compared to Monta’s Aug. 27 — and was originally expected to be back by the start of training camp. Then he was expected to miss only a couple of weeks of training camp. He wound up playing on Opening Night, but was a mere shadow of his former self for the first two months of the season — shooting 37.4 percent from the floor, 29.7 percent…
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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