12:34 p.m. update: Warriors beat writer Geoff Lepper had a story in the Contra Costa Times this morning confirming the possible change of thinking by Don Nelson. Also, one other item from Lepper and the CC Times, noting Nelson's public break with free agent Matt Barnes, a Del Campo High product.
This all comes back to the same swerving uncertainty for the Warriors: whether Monta Ellis can play point guard.
Don Nelson used to think so, as recently as training camp '07. Then the season began, he scrapped plans to play Ellis as Baron Davis' understudy and build Ellis into the starter once Davis left or broke down, and by late 2007-08 said Ellis is the shooting guard and that's it.
Then came the stunning Monday.
Davis voided the final season of his contract and became a free agent, walking away from $17.8 million, after he and his agent had been saying for months and re-stated a few days ago that they expected to keep the deal in place.
Let's hope, for his sake, there is some plan with more certainty than the strategy of "Hey, we'll see how it goes." And not just a plan with good possibilities. A plan with (wink, wink) indications from a club wanting to partner up. Everyone's assuming the Clippers because they could have the money, they do have a position need and L.A. is Baron's hometown.
Ellis is a restricted free agent, but that's more technicality than anything in his case. He almost certainly will be negotiating exclusively with the Warriors. He almost certainly will not sign an offer sheet with another team because it would be for less money than Golden State can and will offer and because VP of basketball operations Chris Mullin would need the time it takes to get the cap off the pen to match. It will be a surprise if more than one or two competitors so much as invest real time to try and steal Ellis away.
So he will be back while Davis may not be. And so the Warriors may be back in the same debate.
Monta Ellis, point guard or not a point guard?
The practical answer is not. Too many turnovers. Too many bad decisions. Too much shoot-first, although that's not as major an issue for someone who just made 53.1 of their attempts, a very, very good number for a perimeter player.
But he may end up being the best option. Right now, again with the strong feeling Ellis will re-sign, he is the only option: the Warriors have no other PGs on the roster.
Golden State could even decide it wants it to happen rather than have it forced upon them by a Davis departure. Golden State could decide it is better off letting Davis walk or working a Baron sign-and-trade.
Ellis at the point and Stephen Jackson, Marco Belinelli and possibly re-signed free agent Kalenna Azubuike at shooting guard and a streamlined fiscal approach. Or Davis at the point with a longer contract as management hyperventilates when he grabs a hamstring, Belinelli / Azubuike/ added free agent at shooting guard, Jackson at small forward and the potential of a mangled salary cap if Davis wears down years before the new deal expires.
The Celtics played a combo guard, Rajon Rondo, at the point and won a title. The SuperSonics just drafted one at No. 4, Russell Westbrook. The Trail Blazers got one at No. 10, as part of a pre-arranged trade, Jerryd Bayless. Ellis fits into that category in style of play, and maybe soon again in reality.