The Monta Ellis era in Oakland is over, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, and while the electrifying now former Warriors guard will certainly be the featured name in headlines across the country tomorrow, he isn’t the only key aspect to this deal.
It was well publicized throughout the league that the Bucks would ask for an arm and a leg for their franchise player Andrew Bogut, and while the Warriors were more than willing to move Ellis for the post defensive presence they’ve been desperately seeking, including 2010 first-round pick Ekpe Udoh as he started to show glimpses of his potential had to be extremely difficult for Golden State.
Udoh is a naturally gifted defender, and his scoring and rebounding have improved as head coach Mark Jackson inserted him into the lineup. He still has a lot of work to do if he wants to become an efficient everyday guy in the NBA, particularly on the glass, but Udoh was certainly a steal for the Bucks.
By prying Udoh from Golden State, Milwaukee theoretically fills two voids on their roster by finding the scoring threat that Stephen Jackson failed to be when they acquired him from Charlotte on draft day and replacing the injured Bogut in the starting lineup with Udoh.
Not only does Milwaukee get two starters out of this trade, but they also dump the $9.2 million owed to Stephen Jackson over the next two years. Jackson was a huge letdown for the Bucks this season, averaging 10.5 points per game in 26 games. He was even benched by head coach Scott Skiles earlier in the season for his struggles on the defensive end.
But while the Warriors are major losers here in the short run, Bogut could provide Golden State with the post prowess they’ve been so desperately seeking since failing to acquire Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan in the offseason. Bogut is a world-class defender and shot-blocker and is the ideal player for Mark Jackson to build his team around.
There are questions about Bogut’s durability, however, as he has missed significant time due to elbow and ankle injuries. He’s been out since early January and won’t be back for at least another month.
The Warriors are likely to fall way out of contention now in the West, but that might not be such a bad thing. Golden State dealt its first-round draft pick away to New Jersey last year in a salary cap-clearing move, but the pick is top-seven protected. The Warriors currently have the ninth-worst record and would forfeit their pick to Utah (New Jersey included it in the Deron Williams trade) unless they were to drop further in the standings.
There are a lot of aspects that went into this deal and time will tell who got the better end. For now, Milwaukee is the immediate victor, but as the cliché goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, maybe the Miami Heat would say otherwise.