His is still the last name heard when lineups are announced, he is still the last of the Warriors to step onto the basketball court, and his annual salary remains a gaudy $11 million.

Monta Ellis continues to get the trappings of star treatment from his employers, who market the veteran shooting guard as such.

Yet in the fourth quarter of their most recent game, which the Warriors lost in the final seconds, Ellis was on the bench watching backup guard Nate Robinson dominate the ball -- and, moreover, watching rookie Klay Thompson finish the game at shooting guard.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson offered an explanation, saying he made the call because Ellis wasn't feeling well.

When I asked Monta if he was OK, as he drifted out of the locker room after the game, he said he was. Granted, this may have been jock-speak, refusal to acknowledge illness.

Either way, though, it his becoming evident Ellis is dispensable.

Insofar as this was not the first time we've seen Ellis take a seat for Thompson during crucial moments, it feels as if the Warriors are closing a chapter of their history. As if the team's brain trust has decided Ellis represents the past, available in trade, to be replaced by Thompson, a 2011 lottery pick who lately has made appreciable progress.