Perhaps Thursday wasn’t the best public relations day for Monta Ellis.
First, there was a report that Ellis and Larry Sanders got into a verbal and near-physical dispute after the Game 3 loss to Miami. Then later in the day, his former coach, Mark Jackson, praised Monta’s exit as a turning point for his team.
In a story by Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, Golden State head coach Jackson noted that the trade that swapped Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson for Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh helped by taking Ellis out of Golden State.
“It helped change the culture,” Jackson said. “Obviously, it was easier to pull the trigger because we knew what we had in Klay and it was time for him to be a starting two-guard. And he does everything right.”
How did the deal change the culture?
Jackson paused four seconds.
“It helped change the culture,” he finally said.
Zoinks. Hello, Monta. Meet the bus. You’re now going under it.
It’s a far cry from the angle Jackson was pitching a year ago. On the day of the trade, with red, teary eyes no less, Jackson praised his outgoing players.
They’re great guys. (Ellis and Udoh) are two guys that I owe a lot to. People questioned me as a first-time coach, and those two guys bought in from Day 1.
The two statements aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. On the day of the trade, Jackson did admit to having some advance knowledge of it. He was likely on board with the deal. On the other hand, he definitely did a 180-degree turn on his public stance on Monta.
Thursday was probably the easiest day to do that.