The tenure of Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis came to an abrupt end Tuesday.
Hours before tip-off against the rival Sacramento Kings, the Warriors agreed in principle to trade Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks, along with second-year big man Ekpe Udoh and the expiring contract of injured center Kwame Brown.
“It’s not a bad thing,” Ellis said as he got dressed to leave. “Not a bad thing at all.”
In exchange, the Warriors get Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut, potentially quenching the franchise’s thirst for a big man. Golden State also gets swingman Stephen Jackson, who helped choreograph the We Believe playoff run in 2007 before leaving the franchise on bad terms in November 2009.
The news left the Warriors locker room stunned. Several players, choosing not to comment on the record, expressed displeasure at the move. Udoh, after going through pre-game warm-ups, found out while watching the television in the locker room.
“I really don’t want to talk about it,” he said to the media. “Thanks.”
Besides losing their best player, one of the primary concerns among the players was the remainder of the season. The Warriors are just three games back of a playoff spot and, after two straight victories over winning teams, were feeling good about their chances.
But not only did the Warriors lose two of their best players, they get back a player who is injured. Bogut is not expected back before April thanks to a fractured left ankle.
“So we’re giving up on the season?” one player asked.
The deal is not yet official. Co-owner Joe Lacob, general manager Larry Riley and assistant general manager Bob Myers are all at Power Balance Pavilion for the game. They all declined to comment.