Could A Three-Way Trade Help The Warriors Move Up In The Draft?

GoBears 2008Analyst IMay 22, 2010

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 30:  Forward Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers on November 30, 2009 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With rumors circulating that the Philadelphia 76ers might be willing to trade down from the number two spot in this year's draft, it's natural to speculate on a possible trade that would net the Warriors the pick.

However, it would not be easy, since Philadelphia has indicated that any trade would have to include the albatross contract of Elton Brand. Below is a trade that functions as a salary dump, but by involving a third team, solves some needs as well.

Warriors receive: Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Sam Dalembert (expiring), No. 2 pick (2010 - from Philly)

76ers receive: Corey Maggette, O.J. Mayo, Andris Biedrins, Zach Randolph (expiring), Ronny Turiaf, No. 12 pick (2010 - from Memphis), No. 25 or No. 28 pick (2010 -from Memphis), future first-round pick (from Golden State - top-three protected for a few years)

Grizzlies receive: Monta Ellis, Brandon Wright, No. 6 pick (2010 - from Golden State), Kelenna Azubuike or Anthony Morrow (sign-and-trade)

The Warriors' starting lineup would look something like this (assuming Evan Turner went second):

Stephen Curry
Andre Iguodala/Evan Turner
Andre Iguodala/Evan Turner
Anthony Randolph/ Elton Brand
Anthony Tolliver/Sam Dalembert

If Wall fell to the second spot, Iguodala would play at the three full-time. Center would be a massive hole in the lineup, but that wouldn't be a new situation for the Warriors. Dalembert is not a good fit in the high-speed Warriors offense, but as an expiring contract, he wouldn't around long anyway. Similarly, Brand probably wouldn't block Randolph in most situations because Elton isn't as good of a fit. However, both Brand and Dalembert would be more useful against teams such as the Lakers or Spurs.

The Warriors would still have Vlad Radmanovich's $6 million-plus expiring, combining with Dalembert's contract to create a very attractive sign-and-trade package for a big man. They also keep Anthony Randolph to see if he can take the next step and become a star. If not, the cap could be used to help fill out the roster with decent front-court and bench players.  And, of course, Curry and Turner or Curry and Wall would both be formidable duos for years to come.

Besides, the Warriors need stars to catch up in future Western Conference playoff races. Turner/Wall could be one, and Iguodala, while not a superstar, would bring defense and versatility to the wing position. The Warriors are not going to contend overnight, and by the time Iggy's and Brand's contracts would be expiring, the young core or Curry, Turner, and Randolph would probably be joined by new top draft talent in 2011.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia loses none of their (existing) young core. They get a younger, high-scoring guard that makes $8 million less than Iguadala. In addition, many of the top prospects in the 2011 draft are 6'8" or taller. With multiple picks, the Sixers would be in a position to possibly trade up for a good, young power forward to replace Brand and pair with Marreese Speights.

Maggette and Biedrins are more problematic. Maggette is due $11.7 million in 2012-13, while Biedrins is due to make $9 million in 2013-14. These contracts are terrible, but Iguodala and Brand's are worse. In 2011-12, Brand will no doubt be even less effective than he was last season, but will combine with Iggy to make nearly $32 million, more than Kobe Bryant. In 2012-13, Iguodala by himself will make just $4 million less than Maggette and Biedrins combined.

In the short term, Philly would pay $19 million next season for Maggette and Biedrins as opposed to around $32 million for Iggy, Brand, and Dalembert. The difference would almost pay for a full year of Zach Randolph, if they decided to keep him.

Maggette has had a reputation of being selfish, but has been effective as a sixth man in the past. He can also play multiple positions (just not as many as he did under Nellieball). Beidrins is limited offensively, but the Sixers have the inside scoring (Speights) that the Warriors lack. He is also only 24, and has room to improve under a new, more disciplined coach, something Brand might not have the body to do anymore. Turiaf would add energy off the bench to spell Marresse.

The Sixers lineup might be:

Jrue Holiday/Lou Williams
O.J. Mayo
Thad Young/Corey Maggette
Zach Randolph/Andris Biedrins
Marresse Speights

Overall, the deal is not perfect for the Sixers, but they are dumping a huge amount of salary while acquiring draft picks, young players, and a good forward with an expiring contract. And of a young, rebuilding team, picks always help, giving them flexibility even though they would give up the No. 2 pick this year.

Memphis will probably have to choose between a near-max contract for Rudy Gay and keeping Zach Randolph and locking him up to a nearly as huge a deal. Randolph is a good player, but his contract caused him to be traded twice in quick succession. He also has significant character issues which could scare off potential trading partners.

In this deal, Memphis not only doesn't have to pay Randolph, but also gets to trade up in the draft and acquire Monta Ellis for less than they were previously willing to give up for him (Hasheem Thabeet is not included in this trade). They also get Brandon Wright to possibly replace some of the production lost with the exit of Randolph (although Thabeet would have to step up his game as well).

Considering that they only gave up Quentin Richardson to get Randolph, the trade boils down to: Quentin Richardson, the No. 25 of No. 28 pick, and O.J. Mayo for Monta Ellis, Brandon Wright, and the right to trade up from No. 12 to No. 6. This is not a bad deal at all, especially since Memphis drafted Thabeet to be a future front-court presence next to Marc Gasol. A Mike Conley-Monta Ellis-Rudy Gay combination could be one of the fastest and most-athletic in the league. And Ellis is approximately the same age as the other two in the trio, having been drafted out of high-school.

The Grizzlies would save money as well. While the trade would bring in $13.7 million in new salary (plus Azubuike or Morrow's salary, although Wright's expiring salary, if traded, could offset it), over $20 million would leave. If this savings allowed the front office of the Griz to match offers for Gay, it would be well worth it. If Gay left, Randolph would likely leave as well anyway, unless Memphis created their own Brand situation by offering a massive deal.

The new Memphis lineup might look like:

Mike Conley
Monta Ellis
Rudy Gay
Hasheem Thabeet / Marc Gasol
Hasheem Thabeet / Marc Gasol

The Grizzlies could either shop the No. 6 pick, or use it to draft a project or add depth.

A trade like this would be difficult to pull off, given the huge salaries involved. And none of the teams would get exactly what they wanted. Nevertheless, all three teams would benefit in some way:  Two would gain cap space and the other would get a potential star.

A more realisitic trade might involve:

Warriors get: Mayo, Brand, #2 (Turner)
76ers get: Wright, Turiaf, Thabeet, #6, #12
Grizz get: Ellis, future (mid-round) #1 from Warriors

True, there are no expiring contracts, and Golden State doesn't dump Maggette or Biedrins, but they do get Mayo for Ellis, and still receive Evan Turner. They also still have Radmanovich's expiring.

Meanwhile Philly dumps Brand, get #6 and #12 for #2, and get to see if they can make a good player out of Wright. Turiaf is filler, but he's a big, active body for the bench, or to start opposite Speights. Thabeet is raw, but perhaps he could be a good player in the future. The Sixers also get to keep Dalembert's expiring.

Lastly, Memphis still executes the Ellis trade. And by trading #12 in 2010 for Golden State's likely #8-15 next year, they open up the possibility of trading up in next year's draft (The Grizzlies would have two likely mid-lottery picks). In addition, they essentially defer the rookie contract salary to 2011, and every dollar counts when it comes to Rudy Gay.