The annual tradition was delayed a bit thanks to the lockout. But, as usual, the trade deadline is near and Warriors guard Monta Ellis’ name is out there.
One thing was obvious, as Ellis talked after Tuesday’s shootaround inSacramento, it’s a song he’s pretty tired of hearing.
Yet, Ellis said he is unwilling to copy Howard, Chris Paul’s and Carmelo Anthony’s power move – demanding a trade to get to a desired location. Ellis said his preference is for the Warriors to become that desired location. But he was not opposed to the possibility of moving on.
“I have faith, plus I’m a loyal guy,” Ellis said. “That’s just not me. It’s just I’m different. My situation is different. I was a second-round pick. I started off making a few hundred thousand (dollars). To be where I am now, I’m grateful.”
Ellis said he doesn’t pay attention to trade rumors and speculation, dropping his trademark “it is what it is” line when asked. But you get the sense he hears enough for it to get on his nerves a bit.
He said he doesn’t look at being a wanted commodity as an accomplishment because, “I know where I stand.” He seems genuinely unmoved by his rising stature, no doubt aided by center Dwight Howard naming Ellis on his short list of Robins.
But as much as he may brush it off, the options floating out there has to sound enticing. Ellis is in his seventh year, he’s scored more than 8,000 points and for the last two-plus years has been the franchise player. Certainly, the opportunity to play for a contender has to be appealing.
“I probably could go to Orlando or Chicago and get a championship,” Ellis said. “But if they don’t move me, what can I do? Hopefully — if they don’t move me – they get somebody in here so we can win and I don’t have to go through this every year.”
It is perhaps not hard to imagine what it must be like for Ellis. Having his friends call him about being offered up for Paul. Constantly seeing on television his name being linked with Orlando. Hearing through the grapevine Chicago – one of the league’s best teams – might be interested in having him fill its shooting guard hole.
Perhaps even worse, though, is continuously being so valuable to the Warriors they won’t move him, yet the franchise keeps failing to surround him with the players he needs to become a contender.
Ellis said he isn’t down on the Warriors. As he has all season, he expressed some pleasure with the direction of the franchise. But Ellis did not shy away from his desire to win. Now.
“I think we’ve had a bit a slippage this year,” Ellis said. “It wasn’t fun. But we still have talent and we can make a push for the playoffs.”
An interesting tidbit provides another twist to this annual tradition. Ellis has two years left on his contract, totaling $22 million. But Ellis has an opt-out after next season.
That means two things: a) Ellis could have one year left after this year, which would puts him in the exact same situation as Paul and Howard are this year; b) Ellis can sign a contract extension this coming offseason.
So, Mr. Ellis, will you be using that opt-out to become a free agent after next season?
“We’ll see,” Ellis said, smiling.
Will you be seeking an extension this offseason?
“I’ll play it by ear.”