Rumors continue but Warriors not likely to move Monta Ellis

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Remember how Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were not going to be able to play well together and Ellis had to be traded? Another urban myth, right up there with Mr. Rogers was a Navy Seal.

Ellis is having a career year — 28.6 points per game, at a shooting percentage 60 points higher than last year. Okay, all this is just five games in, so maybe he’s had just a career five games, but the Warriors have noticed. The result is that for all the talk that has been and will be about an Ellis trade out of the bay area, it’s not likely to happen, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The Warriors still are interested in landing another difference maker, but, according to multiple team sources, there are only a handful of players who would make the Warriors consider trading Ellis.

That means, though the trade deadline is three months away, a trade involving Ellis is looking unlikely. The sources said Warriors’ brass are loving the new Ellis, his pairing with point guard Stephen Curry and how he is leading the team.

Ellis is playing better because he is getting to the line more often and finishing at the rim and in the midrange much better than he was.

Ellis is getting to the free throw line 2.3 more times per game this season than last. That covers basically how many fewer shots per game he is taking — he is replacing missed shots outside with freebies at the rim.

What Ellis is really doing better is in the midrange. He’s taking almost the exact same number of shots from the rim out to 15 feet, but he’s hitting a lot more — from 10 to 15 feet Ellis is hitting 50 percent this season, up from 38.7 last year (thank you Hoopdata). From just off the rim out to 10 feet, he has gone from 43.9 percent last year to 70.6 this season. At the rim it was 61 percent last season, it’s 69 percent now.

Good numbers, not the kind you trade away.

Rich Cho on Trail Blazers getting swept: ‘Being a previous Portland GM, that didn’t disappoint me’

AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Jeff Willhelm
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In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.

Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.

John Canzano of The Oregonian:

That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.

Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.

Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.

Josh Allen’s old tweet: ‘I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks’

AP Photo/Margaret Bowles
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Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.

And there’s an NBA tie.

Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:

I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks

— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011

Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.

But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.

Donovan Mitchell tells Thunder fans, Jazz teammates Utah not returning to Oklahoma City this season

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.

But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.

Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:

Jake Edmonds of KUTV:

A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?

The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.

Report: Grizzlies moving toward keeping J.B. Bickerstaff as coach

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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From the moment Robert Pera opted to retain control of the Grizzlies and end a prolonged ownership saga, it seemed interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff would remain Memphis’ coach.

Lo and behold…

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Bickerstaff did a decent job before the Grizzlies started tanking. But that was a small a sample, and his prior work as Rockets interim coach was uninspiring.

To be fair to Bickerstaff, those were both difficult situations. He’s an experienced assistant who might be ready for this challenge.

To be less fair to Bickerstaff, this looks like Memphis taking the cheap route. The Grizzlies didn’t appear to conduct much of a coaching search, if any. Nor has Bickerstaff been mentioned with other openings. It probably won’t cost as much to hire him as it would a more-established option.

Memphis seems to be operating under the belief that a healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will right the ship next season. And they might. But given the age and injury history of those two, I wouldn’t assume they stay healthy and productive all season. Even if they do, they’d have to carry an underwhelming supporting cast – with limited room for upgrade this summer – in a deep Western Conference.

The Grizzlies want Bickerstaff, who’d be a first-time non-interim head coach, leading that team trying to win now? That doesn’t seem like the right risk-reward balance – at least until considering his salary, and even then.