Inside Practice (Jan. 24)

*Fairly uneventful practice today. They pretty much did a walk through, followed by a 3-on-3 among the little-minute guys. That produced a couple of highlights, like Marcus Williams losing Randolph with a sick crossover and finishing with a sweet, hanging reverse; and Randolph screaming as he swats a Morrow lay-up into the stationary bikes off to the side.

* Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis entertained about 10 junior-high looking girls who were guests at practice. First they signed their t-shirts. Then rebounded while the girls did a shooting drill and a lay-up line. Afterward, Ellis talked to us. Barely.

How do you feel?

Any day-after issues?

At this point, can you play 35 minutes a night?
“I can play four days if I have to. It is what it is.”

*Crawford didn’t practice and is day-to-day. He said it was harder to watch LeBron’s game-winner, because he was sitting out, than it was to watch Jeff Green’s.

*After we finished interviewing Nellie, he got up from his seat and said “Pleasure doing business with ya” before he walked off. Yeah, right. That’s not what he told the Sacramento Bee.


That Final Play

There is a lot of talk about that final play. A little blame shifting and finger pointing. And, of course, I have it all for you.

Here’s what happened. On the previous inbounds, the Warriors started with Ronny on LeBron and Jackson on the big (I think Ben Wallace) Varajeo. James was going to circle around to come get the ball, and when he did, Jax and Ronny would switch, leaving Jax on LeBron.
Monta broke up the inbounds because he read the route and jumped it.
So the Cavs called a timeout. They changed plans.
So instead of LeBron going the expected route, he went away from the big man and Jax and Ronny weren’t able to switch. So Ronny was left on an island, and LeBron calmly nailed the game-winner.
Nellie said Monta then should have ran at LeBron with the double team, forcing LeBron to give up the ball.
Jax said he told Ronny to switch anyway, run to his man while Jax runs to LeBron. But he said communication wasn’t good.
One player, who didn’t want to be named, said the coaches probably should’ve known the Cavs were going to make an adjustment, so they should have anticipated such.
Most said that it didn’t matter. It was a big shot by a league star. That’s whay players of LeBron’s caliber do.


Gain one, lose two: Crawford, Randolph out

The Warriors get guard Monta Ellis back tonight. But they will be without guard Jamal Crawford (hamstring) and rookie forward Anthony Randolph (flu).
Crawford said he was injured against Oklahoma City but it didn’t start bothering him until the next morning. He ruled himself out after trying to warm up before tonight’s game.
Randolph has been battling illness for two days, which forced him out of practice on Thursday.
Anthony Morrow will start in place of Crawford, alongside Ellis, and Kelenna Azubuike will start instead of Randolph


Baron won’t be at Oracle on Sunday

Baron Davis’ homecoming will have to wait. Dan Martinez of the Warriors’ PR staff just sent out a note saying that Davis will not be at Sunday night’s Clippers vs. Warriors game. Davis will be staying in Los Angeles to continue working out and getting treatment for his bruised tailbone and hamstring injuries.


The Monta Saga

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.


Want the Matrix?

The talks regarding Miami Heat forward Shawn Marion won’t die. Toronto, Dallas, even Charlotte, have been mentioned as possible suitors.
The one team we haven’t heard is the Warriors. Let’s see, the Warriors need a PF who fits their style of play, who rebounds and who can score inside. Marion fits (though he doesn’t have a traditional back-to-the-basket game).
Plus, Marion is a free-agent to be. So the Warriors can try him out and if they don’t like him, don’t re-sign him. Obviously, Miami would have to be interested, and there is a very real chance the Warriors don’t have what Miami wants, which is a big man.
But provided the Heat is interested in the Warriors’ roster. Who would you give up for a chance to fill that hole? Or, would you even want Marion?