Monta Ellis grows up. And Curry, he's sorry about all that stuff last season.

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ellis_curry.jpgThings are changing in Golden State — from the new owners coming in next month to the new team logo. Soon enough there will be changes in styles of play and how the team is run.

Monta Ellis is changing, too. He’s maturing.

That comes off in a fantastic bit of reporting and writing by Sam Amick at FanHouse, who had a sit-down with Ellis about the past and where he goes from here.

That starts with mending his relationship with Stephen Curry. Those two could be one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA, but at media day last year — usually the last day anyone says anything actually interesting — Ellis said he didn’t think he and Curry would work together as a unit.

Even his wife called him out on that one.

“She told me as soon as I said it that it was wrong,” Ellis said of the Curry comments. “I didn’t let her know at the time that she was right, but she always told me, ‘You and Steph can do it. Y’all can do it. Just play together and don’t let the outside world destroy y’all because you can win if they put pieces around you.'”

He says now that he didn’t come to that realization until mid-March, when lingering back soreness and a bout with the flu forced him to miss 16 of the final 32 games and gave him ample time for introspection…

“A month before the season was over with, I really had to sit back and blame myself in a sense because I’m that leader; I’m that one who everybody feeds off of,” Ellis said. “Everything that went on last year (regarding Curry) shouldn’t have gone on. I blame myself…

“Like I told him this summer, we can do it. We did it last year. I see now that I have to play the two (shooting guard). I have to play the bigger guards, and I’m cool with that. I can do that. Let’s just put our games together, get everybody else around us on the same page and play basketball.”

There’s a lot of things that need to change to turn the Warriors franchise around. Getting Curry and Ellis on the same page is just one of them. But the fact it is happening is symbolic of all the other changes going on there.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.