Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Updated: November 18, 11:28 AM ET
Sources: Ellis' agent, team to meet
By Chris Broussard ESPN The Magazine
Although the dysfunction level of the Golden State Warriors no doubt declined with Monday's trade of disgruntled veteran Stephen Jackson, sources close to the team say it certainly did not disappear.
Leading scorer Monta Ellis now replaces Jackson as the most irritated Warrior, and according to league sources, Ellis' agent, Jeff Fried, will meet with Golden State management Thursday to discuss his future (or lack thereof) with the club.
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Fried could not be reached for comment, and it's not clear whether he will ask the Warriors to trade his client. But sources said Ellis has been telling teammates on a regular basis that he wants out of Golden State, and he believes general manager Larry Riley has spoken to several teams about potential trades involving him.
Riley said he is aware of Fried's visit to the Bay Area, but he would not confirm a scheduled meeting. Sources say team owner Chris Cohan and president Robert Rowell also may meet with Fried.
Riley said there is no situation, regarding Ellis or any other player, that approaches the seriousness of the Jackson controversy, but he did not deny that the Warriors may pursue other trades.
Rising talent Anthony Randolph, worried about consistency and his role, has joined the chorus of disenchanted voices.
"I don't have anything going right now in regards to trading people," Riley said in a telephone conversation Tuesday afternoon. "I will be working to improve our team throughout the rest of this year, and that process will be started quickly. I felt we had to get the first thing out of the way first. Are we in a position to not do anything? We're 3-6. I can't afford not to be talking to people. We're 3-6 and we need to continue to evaluate our roster."
Meetings with supposedly peeved employees are becoming a regular part of Riley's job description this season. Less than two weeks ago, representatives for Anthony Randolph met with Riley to discuss the second-year player's growing discontent.
Randolph, whom many of the league's coaches and executives view as one of the top young talents in the league, is upset about the lack of consistency regarding his position and role on the team, according to sources.
Riley, however, denied that Randolph is angry.
"Anthony is happy," Riley said. "Things are fine. He's getting a lot of playing time right now and continuing to grow. He fits into our future."
Despite Riley's pronouncements, though, coach Don Nelson's roller-coaster use of Randolph continues. For instance, after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in games against Minnesota and Indiana last week, Randolph played only six minutes in the next game, against the Knicks.
The lanky 6-10, 210-pound forward is also unhappy about being moved to the center position, according to sources close to the team.
The acquisition of Vladimir Radmanovic, who joined the Warriors as part of the Jackson trade, also concerns Randolph, who expects his minutes to drop with Radmanovic aboard.
Ellis, who averages 19.3 points per game, is angry for some of the same reasons Jackson had. Sources say that during the summer, Warriors management told both players they planned to build around them and that they would trade the No. 7 pick in last summer's draft for a veteran who would put the club in immediate playoff contention.
When the Warriors instead selected Stephen Curry with the seventh pick, Jackson and Ellis felt betrayed, believing the team had lied to them and was now going in the direction of rebuilding with youth.
"The players are really questioning whether they can trust the organization," a person with knowledge of the situation said. "They're tired of Nellie's mind games. They think all he cares about is winning 21 more games, even if it means going 21-61. The environment there is terrible."
Nelson, who has 1,312 regular-season victories, needs 21 more wins to surpass Lenny Wilkens as the winningest regular-season coach in NBA history.
Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.