There's no denying that Monta Ellis is an entertaining, explosive player on one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Take Ellis away from the Golden State Warriors and it becomes a team with point guard Stephen Curry and a bunch of players who can't be watched without without partially covering your eyes.
There's also no denying that a backcourt tandem of Curry and Ellis won't last in Golden State. They share too many strengths, and yet Ellis doesn't have Curry's ability to develop into a true point guard. Curry is the guy the Warriors will build around.
Thus, the report that Ellis is being offered to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal for power forward David Lee makes perfect sense.
Well, it's out of character for the Warriors to consider a trade that would actually help them out. The club has been notorious for taking back a line of mediocre players for their stars.
Lee's a versatile big guy who averaged 20.3 points and 11.7 boards in 37 minutes per game last season. He's a true NBA talent who, like Ellis, has been surrounded by inferior supporting players on some truly terrible teams. In fact, some NBA insiders remain surprised that Lee isn't mentioned amongst the list of Grade A free agents. The guy can play.
Oh, and Lee hasn't cause a lick of trouble on the court or off. That alone makes him attractive.
The Warriors do have a number of tall players. (There's really no other way to describe them, given that they haven't shown to be proven power forwards or centers.)
Lee would immediately give the Warriors a star in the middle. He'd allow Andris Biedrins to play defense and rebound without having to worry about scoring around the hoop. Anthony Randolph and Brandon Wright would cease to be pieces to the puzzle. If they develop, fine. If they take time or don't make it at all, then a Lee-Biedrins-Turiaf combo under the hoop makes the Warriors competitive. First-round draft pick Epke Udoh will pound the boards and play defense. This is, of course, assuming Don Nelson forfeits the head coaching job, and his concept of the 5-man run and gun army.
And, really, Randolph is going to develop into a player. Having a veteran like Lee on the club will only expedite the process. Udoh's presence will eventually relieve Randolph of banging in the post, something he's not necessarily suited to do.
There's no reason to worry about losing Ellis. The club never does anything right, but is rightly aware that having two, similarly skilled guards in Curry and Ellis is no way to build a team. And, it doesn't matter how much fans like Ellis—he will be the guy they trade. Curry's not going anywhere.
It wouldn't hurt to relieve the new ownership of Ellis' contract either.
So, Lee for Ellis makes sense and would be a big step towards legitimacy for the Warriors.
Still, the Knicks aren't the only team that might be able to help the Warriors.
The Chicago Bulls are offering small forward Luol Deng around. The former Duke star is a 6-foot-9, 25-year-old who averages 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds for his career. The Warriors are without a small forward. And really, an NBA team should be able to fill all five spots on the floor with proven performers.
The Portland Trail Blazers, whose front office may be a bigger mess than the Warriors', are also bidding for Deng. However, the Warriors have the assets to issue a better offer.
Certainly, Ellis-for-Deng is unthinkable. But the NBA is all about multi-team trades these days and Ellis is a very, very marketable player. Teams are jockeying for trades that would better lure free agents like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Bulls are angling for both LeBron and Wade. Ellis is widely perceived as a scoring guard. ...What value would a scoring point guard have to a team seeking James or Wade?
For now, let's dwell on the comforting idea of acquiring Lee, because it's the only Warriors idea that makes sense.
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Reach Ted at email@example.com.