Teams that are looking to make a big midseason splash should look no further than Monta Ellis.
Every year you hear Ellis' name in trade rumors, yet he never goes anywhere.
The Warriors are at a crossroads right now. They have the talent to beat any team on any given night, but they are inconsistent and flawed. It's clear the backcourt combo of Ellis and Stephen Curry won't work. Other than Curry, Ellis is the Warriors' biggest trade asset. If they are going to trade him, they are going to patiently wait for the right trade.
Ellis has been playing great this year. He's averaging 22.2 points a game with 5.7 assists. Ellis is one of the best pure scorers in the league, which is why Golden State isn't going to trade him for a bag of chips.
Warriors general manager Larry Riley had this to say to NBA.com:
"We're working day and night and we're hopeful," Riley told NBA.com on Monday night. "But what will not happen is, we won't do something that sets us back just to do a deal. We want to find the right deal, and if we get one of those we'll do it. I don't know what the odds of it are right now."
NBA teams that are looking for a playmaker to add to their rosters should be fighting to get Ellis. How often is a young guard who can score 20 points a night this available?
Here is a list of four teams that should look to acquire Ellis.
The Orlando Magic can get Monta Ellis from the Warriors if they want. They just have to trade Dwight Howard.
It's still unclear whether the Magic will trade Howard or not. The team is currently fighting for the third spot in the eastern conference. Do they want to give up that spot by trading Howard?
It may be worth the risk of keeping him on their team for the rest of the season. It's a trickier situation than the Carmelo-Nuggets situation from a year ago because Howard is the best and only dominant center in the league. There's no way the Magic can get equal value back.
Ellis is the best individual player the Magic are going to get back in a Howard trade. Howard has no intention of re-signing with the Warriors, but the Magic shouldn't care about that. They should only care about getting the best players back if they do decide to trade Howard.
The Warriors would have to give up both Ellis and David Lee with some other pieces, and take back Hedo Turkoglu and his massive contract back with Howard.
It's not a fair deal for the Magic, but it may be the best they're going to get. They get back one of the best scorers in the league and a starting center, plus the other players thrown in to make the trade work.
The Warriors get back Howard and then will try to convince him to stay so they can build around him, Curry and Klay Thompson. If Howard leaves at the end of the year, the Warriors can start over from scratch. They are in no man's land with their current roster, so it may be worth the risk.
The Utah Jazz surprised people early this year when they started off the year hot.
They have fallen below .500, but the Jazz are still in arm's length of making the playoffs. One way they can make the leap in order to make the playoffs is to make the trade for Ellis.
Sam Smith of NBA.com suggested an Al Jefferson for Ellis swap. In order to make that work, the Jazz would most likely have to add Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks into the deal. The Jazz, a team ready to win now, would get a huge upgrade at shooting guard. The Warriors would get back youth and a valuable big man to pair with Lee.
If the Boston Celtics are looking to blow things up, they only have one valuable trade piece: Rajon Rondo.
The Warriors may not consider this trade because of Curry and Thompson. But as Sam Smith mentioned in his column, "new high profile ownership is anxious to make a splash and get some notice."
Rondo is one of the best point guards in the league, and teaming him with Curry could be deadly. The Celtics are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Ellis could be the scorer that the team desperately needs.
Of course, if the Celtics trade Rondo, they would have to make some other trades as well. Adding Ellis solves some of the Celtics' problems, but not all of them.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are a key player away from being a real playoff contender.
They have the best power forward in the league, Kevin Love. Ricky Rubio is also one of the most exciting young point guards. Their problem? They don't have a good shooting guard.
The Wolves have enough assets to pull off a game-changing trade and bring in Ellis. According to Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News:
"According to multiple league sources, the two teams had a loose outline of a proposal–neither team had agreed to anything, but this was the basic heart of the talks:
* Minnesota was willing to talk about a package involving F Michael Beasley and C Nikola Pekovic in return for Ellis.
The sources say the Warriors didn’t flat out say no to Minnesota, but wanted more.
* The GSWs apparently asked to expand the deal to include the Timberwolves’ No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, which was 2nd overall and turned out to be Derrick Williams."
Of all the teams that can get Ellis, the Wolves make the most sense. Ellis would put the Wolves over the hump. He would give them three guys in their starting lineup that you could build around for years to come.
Ellis is also a better player than either Williams or Beasley. Losing Pekovic will hurt since he's emerged as a very good starting center, so maybe the Wolves can rework the deal where they can keep him. This is a good trade for the Warriors, and a great trade for the Wolves if they can keep Pekovic.