NBA Draft & Free Agency Rumors: Monta unhappy, Cavs looking at Jamison and more

With the Finals behind us and the draft and free agency looming, the rumors are flying fast and furious. Here’s a rundown of the latest scuttlebutt…

Things are rumored to be getting worse in Golden State.

The talk is that Monta Ellis is unhappy with the direction the organization is heading in, and still holds a bit of grief over the way they held his contract status in limbo for months following his moped injury. For weeks we’ve heard that Ellis is no longer interested in playing for Golden State, and apparently it had reached a point where it was “close to popping off” in the words of one NBA executive—meaning going to the media and publicly demanding a trade.

Let me get this straight — the franchise gives Ellis $66 million over six years and he rewards them by tearing up his ankle in a moped accident, missing 57 games this season. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about the 30-game suspension he served with no pay, but he wasn’t going to play in those games anyway. Shouldn’t he be punished for being boneheaded enough to tool around on a moped?

It sounds like the team has promised Ellis that he’ll be running the point next season and may have promised that they wouldn’t take a point guard at #7, prompting several prospects — Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Ricky Rubio — to refuse to work out for Golden State. Suddenly, Jordan Hill looks like a stronger possibility if he’s still on the board when the Warriors pick.

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Chargers to draft a running back in first round?

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune expects the Chargers to select a running back in the first round of this month’s NFL draft.

I have said in my first two mock drafts that the Chargers will take Chris “Beanie” Wells from Ohio State. I think that’s the guy. General Manager A.J. Smith was at his Pro Day, and Wells is visiting San Diego next week.

But there is plenty of reason to doubt the Chargers will ultimately choose Wells with the 16th pick.
First, Wells might be gone. Teams in front of the Chargers reportedly are mulling their running back needs. Wells, for instance, has visits and/or workouts scheduled with Seattle (fourth pick), Cleveland (fifth), Cincinnati (sixth) and Denver (12th).

Also, I believe very strongly that Smith is going to work his way back into the second round. And there is a faction in the Chargers’ front office that believes Connecticut’s Donald Brown is the best value for the Chargers. A projected second-round pick, Brown is in San Diego now, a week after Smith attended his Pro Day.

Considering LaDainian Tomlinson restructured his contract in order to stay in San Diego, Darren Sproles was franchised and running back isn’t an immediate need for the Chargers, drafting a back in the first round would seem like an unwise move. But LT proved last year that he’s starting to wear down, Sproles has yet to sign his franchise tender and therefore there is no guarantee that either will be on the roster past 2009. And despite finishing 8-8 last year, the Chargers don’t have a ton of needs to address, so getting their running back of the future in a strong running back draft class makes sense.

The only question becomes, will the Chargers take a back like Beanie Wells in the first round or try to trade back for a prospect like Knowshon Moreno or Donald Brown?

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