Monta Ellis has been a magnet for drama since he signed that $66 million contact back in July. His story just took another twist, but also came closer to a conclusion.
The Warriors announced that Ellis will make his season debut on Friday.
Let’s look at this whole situation as a timeline:
July 24, 2008
The Warriors announced they signed Ellis to a contract. It’s a six-year, $66 million contract.
August 21, 2008
Monta, in Jackson Mississippi, injures his ankle. He informs the team. But he tells the team he sustained the injury working out. They keep it hushed while they wait to see if it requires surgery.
August 27, 2008
ESPN reported that Ellis is out for three months after injuring his left ankle, making the news of Ellis’ injury public. He had surgery this day in Birmingham, Alabama to repair a torn deltoid ligament. The initial diagnosis was that he would be out 12 weeks (six weeks off the ankle, then six weeks of rehab), then would be evaluated again.
August 29, 2008
A team source informed me that the team didn’t believe Monta’s story for how he injured his ankle and were investigating his story.
September 3, 2008
ESPN, citing league sources, reports that Ellis had cuts and abrasions on his left leg that weren’t consistent with his working out story.
September 6, 2008
A team source informed me that Ellis came clean to the league that he lied about how he was injured.
September 24, 2008
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a source close to Monta, that the Warriors’ guard sustained the injury while riding a mo-ped.
September 29, 2008
Monta makes his first public comments about the incident. He’s riding a scooter designed to keep him off that left ankle.
“We’ll address it next week when my agent speak with the team and till then I want to tell you, but you just have to wait it out and see what they say and when it’s time for me to address it then ill address it.”
October 11, 2008
Team president Robert Rowell announced before a preseason game against Oklahoma City that the team was suspending Monta Ellis for 30 games. But that wasn’t it. Rowell the disagreement between himself and Chris Mullin.
“Chris Mullin made it perfectly clear to both Mr. Cohan and myself that he didn’t think this was a big deal at the beginning, and we happen to think it’s a very big deal. We happen to think that it’s a big deal for our fans, it’s a big deal for our season ticket-holders, it’s a big deal for our business partners, it’s a big deal for the Warriors organization.”
He also confirmed that the team will protect itself if Monta can’t be Monta again.
“I’ve given so little thought to that that I don’t even know if I can give you a real intelligent answer, other than preserving our rights and reserving our rights, which we have. We’ve asserted that. As far as how it gets done . . . Nobody wants that scenario to happen. If it happens, you’ve got to deal with it.”
October 14, 2008
The blogsite Monta’s Moped had its first post, taking the Monta Ellis saga to commercial status.
October 27, 2008
Monta Ellis, through his agent, released a statement announcing how he disagreed with the Warriors’ ruling.
“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.”
A source close to him said he would be filing a grievance to block the Warriors ability to go after his contract.
October 28, 2008
Monta, wearing all black, including a fur Yankees hat, gets a standing ovation at the Warriors’ open practice when he was introduced with the team.
November 19, 2008
Monta has his second surgery, this one to get the screws taken out. It took place in Dr. Angus McBryde in Birmingham, Alabama.
December 11, 2008
Monta showed up at practice again, this time he’s wearing a practice uniform. He didn’t participate, but he spent a lot of time talking on the court with Jamal Crawford, his new backcourt mate.
“Now, everything’s peaches and cream. You know, I’m walking again, back around my teammates, shooting, about to get back to doing what I love doing.”
January 6, 2009
My man Tim Kawakami blogs that Ellis is upset with the team and he is “not pleased about rejoining a Warriors universe that is ruled by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell.” Warriors do not like that.
January 7, 2009
The Warriors put out a release before the tip-off of the Lakers game saying that Ellis is ready to take the next step: more strenuous activity.
January 9, 2009
Monta works out with his teammates. Nellie called it the lightest form of practicing possible.
January 13, 2009
Monta returns to practice for the first time. He goes all out, even more than he probably should have, according to Nellie. After practice, Monta talked about being pain free, in need of conditioning, and his love for the Warriors.
“Listen, whatever it is about me leaving, wanting to go, I don’t want to play for Nellie — that never came from my mouth. 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. I love playing for Nellie. And I never said that, not one time. So you don’t have to worry about that…I’m here for the next six years. Only thing I’m worried about is getting back on the basketball court.”
January 19, 2009
Monta comes to the arena expecting to play, but he is told no, according to a team source. Not only did he have to wait even longer to play, which is agonizing, but he couldn’t wear the Martin Luther King Jr. editions of his signature shoe with And1. The same day, his agent, Jeff Fried, met with the Warriors’ management.
January 22, 2009
The Warriors announce after practice that Ellis returns. Hours later, my colleague posts on his blog, citing Monta’s agent Jeff Fried, that the Warriors are still “reserving the right” to go after his contract later.
The saga continues.