OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Golden State Warriors suspended injured guard Monta Ellis for 30 games without pay Saturday for violating his lucrative new contract by getting into a moped accident.
Ellis, who agreed to a six-year deal worth $66 million in July, severely sprained his ankle in a low-speed crash in late August. The suspension will cost the guard slightly less than $3 million.
The Warriors counted four preseason games in the suspension's length, which means Ellis can't return to the club until after Golden State's 26th regular-season game, against Indiana on Dec. 17.
Ellis, who recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament, was unlikely to return before then anyway, but the suspension means the guard won't be paid during his absence. Ellis' agent, Jeff Fried, met with Golden State officials during the week to settle Ellis' punishment.
Ellis compounded his mistake by initially lying to the Warriors about the accident. He told Chris Mullin, the Warriors' top basketball executive, that he hurt himself playing pickup ball in his native Mississippi, but came clean about the accident several days later.
The guard will be allowed to spend time at the Warriors' training complex for rehabilitation during his suspension, but Golden State president Robert Rowell is taking a risk of possibly alienating the player expected to be the centerpiece of coach Don Nelson's up-tempo offense after Baron Davis' defection to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ellis was the second-leading scorer for the NBA's highest-scoring team last season, averaging 20.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
When the Warriors opened training camp last month, both Mullin and Nelson seemed to be leaning toward Ellis remaining with the team without punishment. Rowell apparently didn't agree.
``The cooperation that we received from Jeff Fried enabled us to be very diligent in collecting all of the facts surrounding the incident,'' Rowell said. ``This 30-game suspension is a result of that. From this point forward, it is the complete focus of everyone involved to provide Monta with all the support he needs to have a successful rehabilitation, and to get him back on the court as an integral part of this team.''
as involving or exposing the participant to a substantial risk of bodily injury,'' including ``driving or riding a motorcycle or moped.''
Ellis rejoined his teammates in Oakland in late September. A few hours after facing the Oklahoma City Thunder in an exhibition game Saturday night, Golden State's remaining players and coaches will be off on a 17-hour flight to China for preseason games in Beijing and Guangzhou.
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