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Monta Ellis' Punishment: No Pay for 30 Games He's Expected to Miss, or $3 Million

Oct 11, 2008 – 5:47 PM
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Tom Ziller

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The expectation for the Golden State Warriors in the Monta Ellis kerfuffle was to lay down a light punishment or no punishment at all. NBA teams aren't in the business of pissing off their best players for dumb but largely benign mistakes. For every Ellis, I have no doubt dozens of ballers ride motorcycles, snowboard, base jump, run with scissors, microwave floppy disks and do other assorted silly things which could fall under behavior clauses in their contracts. Basically, there's little to gain in terms of material benefit or future deterrence in slapping Ellis with a punishment. Ellis will stop riding mopeds whether you punish him or not. Punishing Ellis isn't likely to make an impression on Anthony Randolph, though.

The Warriors disagree. Tim Kawakami reports the team has suspended Ellis without pay for 30 games. The guard expected to be out a few months, and would likely miss 30 games regardless. But the fine comes out heavy, almost $3 million. That's about 28% of this year's pay. (The Lakers took 10% of Vlad Radmanovic's cash when he injured himself snowboarding and lied to the team about it.) For a cat who'd only made minimum second-round scale money up to this point, that hurts.

Kawakami notes Ellis isn't around to answer questions, which leaves open the possibility Ellis and his camp aren't on board with this. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine Ellis' agent working with the franchise to come up with the right "statement" to protect Golden State's stature while keeping the guard from losing too much. Based on the size of the fine and the lack of an Ellis presence in Oakland right now, it does not appear to be the case that Monta's camp is cool with this penalty.

(It's all worth noting that a Kawakami column from last week quoted Don Nelson and Chris Mullin as appearing to stand against significant punishment. The decision on the $3 million penalty came from team president Robert Rowell, Mullin's boss.)
Filed under: Sports