Monta Ellis has entered into that rather uncomfortable zone where he's not traded, but everyone expects him to be. He's not gone, but it's kind of assumeed he will be. He's still with Golden State, only not really. He's been rumored to have been on the trade block for close to a year now, with Stephen Curry considered the guard of the future.
Now the Contra Costa Times reports that the Warriors are considering trading Ellis again, and more aggressively following the makeover planned by new owners with Joe Lacob leading the charge. The addition of Jerry West to the ownership and front office group only strengthens that idea, with Ellis being considered the bait to kickstart the reshaping of the Warriors in a more defensive-minded structure. The Contra Costa Times' Tim Kawakami lays out both sides of the argument for trading or not trading Ellis, and brings up the Bulls and Grizzlies as those in consideration for a trade:
Then there is the matter of getting the right deal for Ellis, who is due $11 million in each of the next three seasons.via Trade Monta Ellis? Jerry West just might be the guy to do it | Talking Points.
After checking with a few NBA sources, two teams kept coming up — both with the combination of potential interest and the right roster pieces to intrigue West and the Warriors.
Chicago, which might have been a big-time perimeter scorer away from pushing Miami to the brink in the Eastern Conference finals. Would the Bulls think about Luol Deng for Ellis? Could the Warriors sweeten that offer?
And Memphis, West’s old team, which has Rudy Gay at a huge salary and which offered O.J. Mayo for Ellis in the recent past.
That doesn’t mean it will be easy for the Warriors to trade Ellis — emotionally or practically. It will take some guts. But again, that’s precisely why West was brought to the Warriors in the first place.
The Grizzlies from all indications have no intention of trading Rudy Gay, despite the team's success without him in the playoffs. Multiple reports have surfaced linking the Grizzlies to trade talks for Gay, but almost all come from media on the other side of the trade, not from Memphis. The Grizzlies would love to have Ellis, as Kawakami mentions the near Mayo-Ellis swap, but Mayo's value is no longer high enough to support such a trade, if it ever was to begin with. As a result, Memphis is an unlikely target.
The Bulls are an interesting fit. Coach Tom Thibodeau has taken players with questionable defensive ability (Keith Bogans, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver) and made them a part of the best defensive unit in basketball. Could he manage to cover Ellis' defensive liabilities in the same manner while adding a pure scorer to work off-ball with Rose and give the MVP a break from hoisting the offense on his shoulders. This would make a lot of sense from a lot of angles, but giving up Deng is giving up the emotional backbone of the Bulls and a key locker room guy, not to mention their best wing defender. The Bulls would be in a jam were they to make the move.
Still, the odds seem to be increasing that Ellis will not be in the Bay when the NBA kicks back up again.... whenever it kicks back up again.