No Monta, no me at Warriors media day. OK, it's not quite that simple, but oops, that's how it worked out.
Today marks the first GSW media day without Monta Ellis on the team since 2004, and I won't be there, either -- me, mostly due to the A's potential clincher tonight, but still.
(I worded that sentence carefully for a reason: Ellis was on the team for 2008 media day, but I don't believe he was anywhere near the media in October while recovering from his off-season scooter accident. So he was not present but still obviously the biggest story and controversy. Fairly symbolic of the Monta Era.)
But there's also a new Warriors truth in 2012: Without Monta around, there just doesn't seem to be a loud and demanding story early in this camp, which is generally good news for any team.
During Ellis' rambunctious time here, the Warriors just never seemed settled -- it wasn't all Monta's fault, it was just the way things get when you build so much hype and hope around a smallish, ball-dominating, impetuous, strong-willed, popular player.
It was hard to build a team around Ellis, and the Warriors proved how hard it could be year after year after year. The basketball was entertaining but weird, the defense was non-existent, and tensions were always ramped up, starting in early October, usually.
Add Don Nelson, Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson to that mix and... it was never quiet around the Warriors, especially on media day.
So rather logically, from what I can foresee, there's probably not much essential coming from the players other than ankle updates from Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry and a contract talk update from Curry.
Of course, we've sort of gotten those health updates and they really won't count for much until we see Bogut and Curry practicing or playing at full-speed, and Mark Jackson hasn't let the media anywhere near a real moment of practice since he got here, anyway. So that's out the window.
Otherwise, I'm not expecting too much news out of Warriors camp, unless Andris Biedrins wants to respond angrily to Jackson's blunt comments last week; I doubt that will happen and Biedrins' status is so low now anyway, that it will hardly matter much even if he does.
So it's Curry and Bogut and neither story seems likely to move forward (or backward) until late-October, when the season is set to start. Again, it's not like the old days when you never knew what you might get from Ellis, SJax, Baron or Nelson. Or even Dunleavy, Richardson, Dampier or Jamison.
It's Curry and Bogut. They're not impetuous guys in any way.
And (pending re-injury) there's probably not to much happening with either of them right until the hours before the Warriors' season-opener in Phoenix on Oct. 31, and here's why:
1) The biggest off-the-court story is the state of Curry's extension talks with the Warriors -- the deadline to sign is Oct. 31, and the talks almost certainly will creep very close to that deadline, as most of these do.
The Warriors want to see Curry remain healthy through camp and into the exhibition season before getting into the final negotiations for a deal that almost certainly would be worth $40-45M (if he's healthy) and Curry will want to prove how healthy he is in order to cash out to the highest degree.
No hard news until Oct. 30 at the earliest on this one, I'd think.
2) It's looking like Bogut will play at most 1 or 2 exhibition games (late-October) but maybe none at all, so it could come down to the wire whether he's ready to go Oct. 31 in Phoenix.
Do the math: Bogut may not participate fully in training camp at all, then the exhibitions begin this Sunday. The Warriors play eight exhibitions, the last coming Oct. 23 at Oracle. I'm not sure Bogut can get up to 100% by then.
So it'll be touch-and-go for Oct. 31 -- Bogut and the Warriors say they are wisely not putting any extra significance on making it back for the opener.
I don't want to go overboard, either. It's just one game. But it will be interesting to see if he gets back for it.
3) Other than the Two Ankles, the Warriors' main on-court storyline is the battle for the starting small forward spot, but again, no media access to practice so there's no clear way to judge this one until the exhibitions starts.
Jackson might give us hints about his mindset before Oct. 31 but probably won't make a final call until then and I would expect much of the decision will be determined by the chemistry and play during exhibition season.
The candidates: Harrison Barnes, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and maybe Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green.
Summary: There are plenty of interesting subplots and stories in this Warriors camp, but no major drama. Fans and media will want to get to know Barnes, Green, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, Festus Ezeli... and see whether Biedrins can resurrect his career.
But that's the not the big stuff. Unless something crazy happens between now and Oct. 30, the next 30 days are going to be a quiet Warriors time while the Giants and A's go into the postseason, the 49ers and Raiders do the NFL thing and many other things happen.
Then Oct. 30-31 will come, and the Warriors will be dramatic again, either good or bad, as they always are.