Commentary

Nellie is the Warrior who needs to go

Originally Published: November 19, 2009
By Scoop Jackson | ESPN.com

First it was Chris Webber.

[+] EnlargeDon Nelson
AP Photo/George NikitinDon Nelson, long hailed as a brilliant basketball mind, has been embroiled in controversy lately.

Then Baron Davis.

Then Chris Mullin.

Then Stephen Jackson.

Now … Monta Ellis.

The collateral damage of Don Nelson's tenure as Golden State Warriors coach seems to be piling up by the day. Now we can add Ellis to the long list of players and front-office personnel who have been victims of the tsunami known as Nellie.

It seems this latest problem stems from a Warriors practice in New York on Nov. 12. Reportedly, Ellis wasn't quite ready to go when the practice started, and Nelson chewed him out in front of his teammates -- even though Ellis wasn't the only player who wasn't ready. Ellis took issue with Nelson's treatment of him, the two exchanged words, then Nelson waved Ellis off and left the practice facility.

The latest on the situation: Sources say Ellis and his agent are scheduled to meet with Golden State management on Thursday to discuss his future with the team.

So let's do the math. First, way back in 1993-94, Nelson made Webber's rookie year a hell worse than living with losing a national championship over a timeout call.

Fast-forward to 2008, when Nelson was rumored to have a fallout with face-of-the-franchise Davis, and Davis decided to opt out of his Golden State contract.

Earlier this year, Nelson basically ran general manager and Warriors legend Chris Mullin, whom he'd been having disagreements with, out of town.

And earlier this week, Jackson -- who'd been feuding with Nelson -- got what he wanted, a trade.

At this very moment, Nelson's Warriors (those who are left) stand 3-8, at the bottom of the Pacific Division. The coach has displayed little evidence that he knows how to work the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, Stephen Curry, into the offensive mix. And now he has gotten into a beef with the one star player he has left.

[+] EnlargeDon Nelson and Monta Ellis
AP Photo/Paul SakumaNelson's relationship with Monta Ellis (right) clearly has deteriorated.

It seems to me that, at this point, Nelson has left the Warriors' brass with one and only one option.

It's time to give Nellie the "peace" sign.

If the New Orleans Hornets found reason to fire Byron Scott … if the Buffalo Bills found reason to fire Dick Jauron … if Notre Dame and Florida State are (finally) thinking about separating themselves from Charlie Weis and Bobby Bowden, then surely it's about time for Nelson to go.

This franchise is headed toward tailspin territory. And if the Warriors have any aspirations of getting back the swagger they displayed when they rocked the basketball world back in 2007 by upsetting the top-seeded Mavericks in the first round, starting from scratch in the coaching department is probably the only way to go.

There's a fine line between genius and delusional. Even with all the carnage he has left behind, Nelson has been viewed as a genius for a long time. But it seems as if that time is up. His time is up.

Because the Warriors' being called the Knicks or Nets of the West is one thing. Actually becoming them is a whole 'nother thing.

Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com.

Scoop Jackson | email

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