Stephen Curry’s ongoing ankle issues, which I think can easily be resolved by him wearing high tops instead of low cuts, are going to start being burden to the Golden State Warriors. It’s going to become increasingly difficult to part ways with Monta Ellis in favor of Curry when Curry can’t stay healthy.
Let’s put aside their lack of chemistry on the court and focus on the business side: They each have three years left on their contract, and while Monta Ellis is reeling in a costly nine million a year, Golden State is cutting a check three times less (that’s three million for all you English majors) for Stephen Curry.
Curry, based on age, salary, and upside, is the more attractive trade asset of the two, but, like I said before, all the ankle twists/sprains has to make suitors skeptical. Maybe if he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, their world-class medical staff could spray their magic potion on his ankle and get his career back on track, not unlike Grant Hill.
That being said, trading Monta Ellis seems to be the popular solution among media members and un-biased fans, but Golden State’s ownership and fan-base overvalue his skill-set. He’s an elite scorer and that’s pretty much it. He’s also proven that if he’s the focal point of an offense, it doesn’t translate into wins. He’s much more effective for a team if he’s playing unselfish basketball.
The Warriors first year head coach, lifetime preacher man, and Jeff Van Gundy enthusiast, Mark Jackson, is certainly changing the culture of the team, but they still have a ways to go. In fact, I’ll step back from my previous statement, and agree that it’s possible that the Warriors can make it to the playoffs on the shoulders of the Curry/Ellis tandem, but if the team wants to compete with the upper-echelon Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series, they need to make a change.
Who should the Warriors trade?
It has been recently reported that the Milwaukee Bucks are finally willing listeners to offers for their Australian center, Andrew Bogut. It’s no secret: The Warriors need a viable center to man the paint on both ends of the floor, and let’s face it, they can’t trade Curry or Ellis, among other pieces, to rent Dwight Howard without a guarantee he’d stay in the Bay Area.
Although the Aussie big man has been riding the pine for most of the last two years because of injuries, he’s an immediate upgrade over Kwame ‘Missed Lay-Up’ Brown and Andris "I Gel My Hair for Basketball Games" Biedrins. Bogut is an elite defender and rebounder, fitting right in with preacher/head coach Mark Jackson’s style, and Ellis would be instant offense for an offensively challenged Milwaukee team.
The one thing that would kill this trade is the Buck’s insistence on Golden State taking on disgruntled guard Stephen Jackson as well. But when you really think about it, if the Warriors traded Monta Ellis, it stands to reason that they will now be in need of a replacement shooting guard. Bogut wouldn’t be able to play right away due to injury, but it’s not like the Warriors are winning a title this season.
Their cap space would take a hit with Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut being owed a combined 21 million per year, but a healthy Bogut (even an 80 percent Bogut) and a motivated Jackson would make it worth it.
I’ve pondered a Warriors trade with the Phoenix Suns, sending Stephen Curry straight up for Steven Nash, and that swap looks great on paper for both teams, but then I thought about it, and renting an aging Nash isn’t enough to overcome the Spurs or Thunder. Also, once he retired the Warriors would be right back to square one.
I also thought about an Ellis/Chris Kaman swap…
Just Kidding. Although the Warrior jerseys would really accent Kaman’s back hair.
Anyway, the last trade proposal I’ll make is this:
Monta Ellis to the Utah Jazz for center Al Jefferson.
Jefferson is one of the most underrated centers in the league, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds. He’s not the elite defender that Andrew Bogut is, but he’s a stud offensively, a perfect inside-out fit with (a healthy) Steph Curry.
On the flip side, the Jazz rely on their inside game to get points. Devin Harris, Raja Bell, and Gordon Hayward haven’t been stellar offensively, and Monta Ellis can provide the Jazz with a burst of energy for them to make a playoff push.
The Golden State goal right now: to get an inside presence in a Warriors jersey. Scratch Dwight Howard from that list. He’s not worth the risk/possible de-construction of the team. Focus on the next tier of centers who will come cheaper, salary-wise and player-wise. If they don’t, the most the Warriors will ever be is an annual eighth seed hopeful with slick jerseys, whose locker room will be littered with empty bottles of Andris Biedrins' gel.