Multiple sources say that, apparently at Don Nelson’s urging, the Warriors have been calling teams and offering to trade Ellis in recent days.
It is likely that their efforts will only intensify, barring some 11th-hour peace treaty. Ellis has four years and $44M owed to him after this season, but several sources say that he will be less difficult to trade than Stephen Jackson was.
And it seems inevitable that Ellis will be traded, presuming that Nelson remains in power, and every source I’ve talked to believes that Nelson will remain in power.
Ellis’ grievances with the Warriors date to their handling of punishment for his scooter accident and to concerns about Nelson’s commitment to him as a player and to Rowell’s decisions as the team’s No. 1 executive.
(Including personal promises made by Rowell to Ellis and Stephen Jackson at the end of last season that the Warriors would upgrade the roster significantly in order to make sure this year is not wasted.)
But the latest developments, reactions, and red-hot trade talk, stem from 2 recent events, one public, one not:
* Two sources say that Nelson embarrassed Ellis when Ellis tried to step into a leadership role in the aftermath of the 28-point home loss to the Clippers on Nov. 6.
The sources describe the scene in the post-game locker room: Ellis, as a co-captain, began loudly addressing to his teammates, telling them that this performance could not be tolerated.
But then Nelson came into the room and told Ellis to be quiet.
Speaking to reporters a few minutes later, Ellis was near-tears. A snippet…
-Q: Your coach said he was embarrassed by this game. Are you embarrassed?
-ELLIS: We all should be embarrassed. This is a terrible game, terrible performance. We looked like we didn’t know what we were doing out there. We looked like a high school team. We didn’t do nothing.
* The Clippers-game episode now sheds greater light on Ellis’ cryptic comments during his public verbal altercation with Nelson after a practice in New York last week.
First, in front of reporters, Ellis accused Nelson of blaming him for everything. When Nelson denied it and then walked away, waving his hands, Ellis said:
“See, that’s why I won’t do it. I just won’t do it.”
What did that mean? My read: Ellis was saying that whenever he tries to lead the team, it’s rendered meaningless because the coach and management disrupt everything.
Ellis has his own weaknesses and is far from a perfect player, but he is not wrong on this point.
When he sees how little Nelson cares about building a real team and sees the bumbling of Rowell & Co., Ellis is seeing the truth about the Warriors.
He’s living it. He’s not the ideal Nelson guard, and that has played out over a few years now. But Ellis is one of the more talented guards of his size in the NBA. However…
Like so many other players before him, he is realizing the hopelessness of life with Nelson, Rowell, Riley and Chris Cohan.
He wants out. Just like Stephen Jackson. Like Al Harrington. And, probably, like Anthony Randolph in a few months and Andris Biedrins and… well, you just name the good player. He wants out or soon will want out.
They all have an expiration date. It’s the Warriors. The only ones who stay are the fools, the corrupt and those with no other choice.