OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Golden State Warriors made sure they would have Monta Ellis in their backcourt at least for the near future, re-signing the explosive guard to a multiyear contract Thursday.
Ellis, who was a restricted free agent, is expected to take over at point guard next season in Don Nelson's up-tempo offense after two-time All-Star Baron Davis opted out of his contract earlier this month to join his hometown team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
``We are absolutely thrilled to have Monta under contract for the next several years,'' said Chris Mullin, Golden State's executive vice president of basketball operations. ``He has been one of the top young players in the NBA for the last two years and enjoyed a tremendous season last year. The growth that he has demonstrated at such a young age is incredible and we look forward to him playing a big part in our future success.''
The 22-year-old Ellis, selected out of high school in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft, averaged career bests of 20.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.53 steals in 37.9 minutes and 81 games last season. He was named the NBA's Most Improved Player after the 2006-07 campaign.
Mullin has been working furiously to upgrade his roster - and knows he has no choice considering the Warriors play in the power-packed Western Conference.
Golden State, the first 48-victory NBA team not to make the playoffs this past season, is coming off consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 16 years. Yet the Warriors' best season in 14 years wasn't enough to make it to the postseason after the team advanced to the second round in 2007.
Earlier Thursday, the Warriors announced that shooting guard Kelenna Azubuike would return after the club matched the Clippers' three-year, $9 million offer sheet.
Azubuike averaged 8.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 81 games last season with the Warriors, who signed the former Kentucky guard out of the NBA Developmental League in January 2007. He started 17 games for Golden State, and he should see more playing time next season after Davis' departure, Mickael Pietrus' signing with Orlando and Ellis' expected move to point guard.
``We are pleased to have Kelenna back in the fold,'' Mullin said. ``He's a young and talented player who has continued to improve during his two seasons with our team. His versatility, athleticism and ability to shoot the 3-pointer certainly fit our style of play.''
Azubuike, a restricted free agent, signed the offer sheet with the Clippers last Friday, giving Golden State seven days to match it. The Warriors, who earlier signed high-scoring free agent swingman Corey Maggette from the Clippers, also signed forward Ronny Turiaf away from the Lakers last week with a similar offer-sheet deal.
Golden State also signed forward Richard Hendrix, its second-round pick in last month's draft.

Top NBA Public Bets

#1 520 Utah Jazz  76%
#2 512 New York Knicks  67%
#4 522 Denver Nuggets  67%
#5 513 Houston Rockets  63%
#6 502 Boston Celtics  63%
#7 506 Charlotte Hornets  62%
#8 509 Milwaukee Bucks  60%
#9 518 Chicago Bulls  59%
#10 508 Atlanta Hawks  55%

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Marquee matchup on tap in Buckeye State There’s no disputing that the Cavaliers flunked Monday’s test vs. the Western Conference-leading Warriors. But how will Tyronn Lue’s troops fare against the...
Thumbnail Rockets vs. Grizzlies Prediction Fresh off their loss to the Warriors, will the Rockets lose back-to-back games when they visit the Grizzlies at 8:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Blazers vs. Celtics Prediction Are the Celtics a good bet to cover the spread coming off a loss when they host the Trail Blazers today at 5:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Pacers vs. Lakers Prediction The Pacers are a small favorite on the road tonight against the Lakers at 10:30PM ET. Are they a good bet to cover the spread?
Thumbnail Breakneck pace expected at Toyota Center At 33-12, Houston clearly has the attention of the basketball world. But can Mike D’Antoni’s no-holds-barred attack find success against the class of the...

NBA Team Pages