AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Two certainties developed Thursday regarding guard Monta Ellis. First, he won't be joining the Warriors on this four-game road trip, which continues tonight against the Detroit Pistons.
When Ellis first departed last Thursday for Mississippi to tend to a family matter, the team left open the possibility of him rejoining the Warriors at some point this week.
The second certainty: Ellis will return to Oakland on Sunday, according to his agent, Jeff Fried, and will be ready to go when the Warriors take the court at Oracle Arena on Wednesday against New Jersey.
Uncertainty, however, hangs over the reason for his departure. Some members of the organization, according to multiple team sources, believe Ellis left for more than a family matter.
Why? Ellis didn't stick around for the team photo, which was taken last Friday before the Warriors' home game against Charlotte. Also, according to the sources, he left with an amount of luggage that suggested he wasn't coming back soon.
Those recent developments, in addition to Ellis' noticeable discontent, is leading some to believe his departure was at least in part a protest, a gesture of his unhappiness.
According to the sources, Ellis has shunned huddles when he's not in the game, been late to shootarounds and practices without reason, and — in moments of frustration on the court — has voiced his desire to be traded.
Publicly, however, Ellis has maintained his desire to stay with Golden State and his appreciation for the six-year, $66 million contract he was given this offseason.
After signing that contract, he was involved in a much-publicized moped accident. He underwent surgery on his left ankle and was suspended 30 games (26 regular-season games costing him $3 million). The Warriors also have reserved the right to terminate his contract.
Off the glass
Forward Brandan Wright, who didn't join the team on the road trip, was in a minor car accident in downtown Oakland near the Warriors' facility. "I came out of the accident 100 percent," said Wright, who was coming from working out when the accident occurred. "And it didn't do anything to create more injury to my shoulder. I'm fine." Wright, who is rehabbing from a dislocated left shoulder that caused him to miss the last 24 games, said the passenger door on his car was damaged. The car of the woman he collided with in the intersection was totaled. ... Center Andris Biedrins, who will miss tonight's game because he's back home dealing with a family matter, also won't return in time for Saturday's game at Milwaukee. ... Since the Warriors didn't practice Thursday, injured swingman Kelenna Azubuike (mid-back strain) and rookie forward Anthony Randolph (strained left groin) were able to rest. Their availability for tonight will be determined pregame.
— Marcus Thompson II