It’s become somewhat of a forgone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors will deal Monta Ellis this offseason. As trade talks heat up, Bay Area fans are pondering their team’s future without the volume scorer. But Ellis has a strong supporter within the organization that may keep him on Golden State’s roster: new head coach Mark Jackson. From Philly.com:

“‘I want Monta Ellis on this basketball team,’ Jackson told reporters at his introductory news conference. ‘This guy is a big-time player. And I think he’s the third best shooting guard in the league. You have Kobe, obviously, and Dwyane Wade. I will match [Ellis] up against anybody else on a given night and feel extremely comfortable about it.’ Jackson did admit that Ellis could improve defensively. ‘You can nitpick what he can and can’t do, but at the end of the day, a coach will look brilliant if he has a guy who can go make a play,’ Jackson said. ‘He’s a flat-out scorer. He’s a much-improved, underrated passer and facilitator. He’s a guy I embrace on this team . . . He’s an outstanding player who I look forward to coaching.’ Of course, that also might be posturing in order to help drive up Ellis’ value. Reports in the Bay area have described an Ellis deal as inevitable. Once word leaked about the possible Sixers trade, a number of teams have called the Warriors about Ellis, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper cited Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis, Orlando, Portland and the Lakers as having also shown interest, according to league sources.”