Warriors general manager Larry Riley said Monday the team likely won't trade Monta Ellis, but he implied that a big-time offer would make him reconsider.
Riley, however, denied reports about a deal being imminent during a talk with local media at the team's facility in Oakland.
His stance on Ellis shed some light on the Warriors' draft intentions Thursday night. Golden State has the 11th pick in the first round.
"How many shooting guards are better than Monta Ellis?" Riley said. "He's pretty special. It's very likely that he will not be traded on draft night or even through the summer."
Riley said the consensus among team officials is that it can win with the small backcourt of Ellis and point guard Stephen Curry, both of whom go about 6-foot-3, 180 pounds. That means Golden State won't be using Ellis' trade value to fill any needs, which makes the draft that much more important.
The Warriors, who have talked defense all through the offseason, might have to use their top pick to address that end of the floor. That has Riley, who usually prefers to take the best player available, considering drafting for need.
The most noted defensive players who could be available at No. 11 are Florida State's Chris Singleton and big man Bismack Biyombo from the Congo. Singleton is expected to be a lockdown perimeter defender, and Biyombo is arguably the best defensive big man in the draft.
But both present a problem for the Warriors, who already feature two players -- center Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh, last year's top pick -- who don't contribute much on offense.
"Defenders in this draft," Riley said, "have got to improve their offensive skills."
Because Singleton and Biyombo come up short on offense, the Warriors might be forced to go with the best player available. It appears that swingman Klay Thompson is high on that list.
Kansas forward Marcus Morris or swingman Kawhi Leonard -- two of the most NBA-ready players in the draft who could bolster the Warriors bench -- aren't likely to be around at No. 11. Neither are three international big men the Warriors like: Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, Turkish center Enes Kanter and Czech forward Jan Vesely.
Even if any one of the previously named five players is available, Golden State might prefer Thompson. As was the case with Curry and Udoh, Riley likes taking guys who separate themselves with special talents.
"Klay is the best shooter in the draft," said Riley, latter admitting that he forgot about BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette. "I don't mind saying that. Here's conceptually somebody with an NBA skill. Comes right into the league with the ability to make shots, come off screens where he's set up to shoot the ball. You'd like to have people who have some level of an NBA skill that you're going to be able to count on, and then build on that from there."
Thompson would serve as a third guard with Ellis and Curry. But drafting him means the Warriors would have to find another way to address the need for defense and physicality up front.
Riley said the Warriors won't get better without addressing that area, which no doubt will be harder to do without cashing in Ellis' value.