Newsday reported today that both Baron Davis and Monta Ellis are interested in potentially leaving the Warriors and joining Mike D'Antoni and the Knicks (See: http://www.newsday.com/sports/basketball/knicks/ny-spknix0523,0,1616857.story).
As a Warriors faithful, this would be a huge concern. Losing two of our biggest players to the Knicks would be an enormous blow. Not only to the cohesiveness and strength of the team, but to fan morale.
What does this really mean and what is likely to happen? Let's break it down in the way that I see it:
1. Baron Davis won't walk away from big money.
Yes, he is set to make $17+ million this season, which no other team seems able to match if he opts out. So, as many others have preached, it seems unreasonable to believe he'd just walk out.
He's the one who has been saying he wants to stay a Warrior. Unless he hates it so much that he'd rather play elsewhere and get an extension in a team that might not be as good a fit, he's not opting out.
Also, let's not forget he's a West Coast baller from Los Angeles. Not that that should stop him, but hopefully California is in his blood.
2. The Knicks don't have the goods for a sign-and-trade for Baron.
The only other option for Baron to go to the Knicks (or anyone other team), is if Baron doesn't opt out into free agency, is via sign-and-trade.
The only way this would be worthwhile to the Warriors is if the Knicks gave up David Lee, Nate Robinson, and Stephon Marbury together for Baron. Maybe even an additional throw-in of Renaldo Balkman.
They'd give themselves an energy rebounder, a back-up point-guard, and an interim starter point-guard in Marbury, who would come off the books after the 2008-2009 season.
Still, it's an unlikely scenario, and might require some very creative financials. I wouldn't count on it.
If you were the Knicks, would you give up your younger talent and your trade chip (expiring contract of Marbury) in an effort to get Baron alone? It might make MSG bump for a while, but it wouldn't make them instant contenders.
On the Oakland side of things: sure, it sures up some of the needs that the Warriors have (back-up point guard, and rebounding, more size from two energetic forwards), but possibly at the cost of fan-ship and dealing with at least a year of Marbury-insanity.
3. Monta Ellis is a restricted free agent.
Chris Mullin has already vowed that he would not let Monta walk. With other articles touting his skills and abilities, why would we move the guy who has not only shown a bright future, but a capability to slash and destroy top-level competition on the offensive end at will?
Likewise, why would Monta leave the one team that put their trust in him and picked him up, when other teams passed on this up-and-coming world-class talent?
4. The core group is clear.
Baron Davis, Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson have been deemed core to the Warriors crew in the past. Breaking that equates to a shake-up that makes zero sense unless a bonafide star is available, fits in, and is willing to join the gang.
The Golden State Warriors management are showing more fiscal responsibility, rather than dumping dollars at every drop of the bucket. The core guys should view that not as a dig on their ego, but as a clear message that they are acting intelligently to build a solid team around them.
The bottom line is that Warriors' Management has shown greater intuitiveness and focus in their dealings, at least within the last two years.
Let's hope it stays that way.
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