When the Minnesota Timberwolves chose Jonny Flynn with the sixth pick in last night's draft, the Warriors' new general manager was presented with a choice: forward Jordan Hill or guard Stephen Curry. Minutes later, much to the chagrin of Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden, the choice was Curry.
Hill could turn into a solid or even great player, especially for Mike D'Antoni, who will like Hill's faced-paced style and athletic ability. But Golden State was focused on a former D'Antoni forward, Amar'e Stoudemire.
Media outlets were in agreement for most of Friday that Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, and either Marco Belinelli or Kelenna Azubuike would be the current Warriors sent to Phoenix for Amar'e.
In addition to the above players, the Warriors were rumored to be sending the seventh overall selection in the draft to the Suns. This speculation only increased when Curry was chosen over Hill.
Steve Kerr's denials of an imminent trade at first seemed to be typical of a GM who was about to trade one of his team's best players. But later in the evening, rumors began circulating that the Warriors, having secured Curry, didn't want to part with him for an often-injured player with a reputation for selfishness.
Marc Stein reconfirmed the reports this morning, and Matt Steinmetz wrote, "Ws GM Larry Riley: Can't see a scenario in which Curry is traded, hopes he's a Warrior for 10 years. 'We drafted him to play here.'"
Although Riley's words could be either more smoke and mirrors or an attempt to placate the fans, Curry now seems to be an obstacle rather than a facilitator for the deal. But other factors, including a contract extension for Amar'e, are still unresolved as well. Biedrins' BYC is still in effect, so there is still plenty of time to negotiate.
If the Warriors can stand firm on keeping Curry and still acquire Stoudemire, the Warriors might be a playoff team next year. A starting lineup would likely be Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Randolph, Amar'e, and Ronny Turiaf. Corey Maggette would be a key sixth man, and Curry and Anthony Morrow playing at the same time would be deadly to perimeter defenders.
Even if both sides agree to deal, will Amar'e be willing to accept a sign-and-trade? His point totals will no doubt increase, and Don Nelson doesn't exactly take a hard line on playing defense, but it's still not a given that Stoudemire would agree to be more than a rental, in which case the deal makes no sense.
Will Biedrins be better than Amar'e in three years? Even without injury issue, Andris is locked up for cheaper than an extension for an almost 27-year-old Stoudemire would cost.
Andris seems to be genuinely happy with the Warriors, providing a double-double on most nights. Although Shaq no doubt took some rebounds away from Amar'e, Stoudemire could represent a downgrade in rebounding.
Amar'e does provide a huge upgrade in free throw percentage over Andris and has had quite a few monster playoff games. It's also a good sign that, although they are no doubt executing Nelson's wishes in acquiring Stoudemire, the Warriors are standing firm on Curry and playing hardball with the Suns, who are entering a rebuilding phase.
Still, Amar'e is not even the best forward to possibly become a free agent in 2010. Chris Bosh is younger, less injury-prone, and has a better attitude.
A sign-and-trade for Bosh might be the Warriors' next trade attempt if the Amar'e deal falls through. Getting Bosh would probably require Curry and possibly other players to complete, but Bosh is more worthy of a huge deal than Amar'e is.
The Stoudemire deal is far from dead—and it's still possible that Curry will be included.
But the Warriors' new GM has so far avoided the shortsightedness that has handicapped the franchise for the last decade. In the case of Amar'e, it's buyer beware, unless the price is right.