The Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks have agreed to a sign and trade deal with the New York Knicks sending Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, and a second round pick to the Knicks in exchange for David Lee. This a great deal for the Warriors, and I believe it is a step in the right direction for the franchise.
In this trade, the Warriors dump Ronny Turiaf who still has two years and more than $9 million left on his contract, but doesn't really do anything for the team. He averaged five points and four rebounds a game last season, and his game doesn't fit well into the Warriors system. The Warriors selected Ekpe Udoh with the sixth pick in this years draft. With this new competition he will command even fewer minutes next year, and there is really no reason for the team to keep him around.
I think it's safe to say the Warriors won't miss Azubuike's production this season as he only played in nine games. He did play well in those nine games (14 points 5 rebounds) but he is coming off a season ending knee injury and you just never know when it comes to a knee injury.
There has been a lot of talk about Anthony Randolph being traded this off-season. NBA experts claim that Randolph can't grow in the Warriors system and needs to be moved. Randolph is a talented player, but he was going to be moved at some point this off-season. Randolph is another player coming off a season ending injury. He suffered multiple ankle injuries on January 8th last season and didn't return.
The Warriors are essentially giving up three players that they don't really need. Combined, they participated in only 84 games with only 35 starts. The second round pick isn't a problem, so overall the Warriors really can't be too upset with the players they are giving up.
David Lee is the kind of player the Warriors need to start building their franchise around. Lee is 27 years old and put up some big numbers last season. The Warriors leading re-bounder last season was Andris Biedrins who averaged 7.8 rebounds per game. Lee averaged 12 a game. He also put up 20 points and four assists a game. Chris Bosh averaged 24 and 11. Lee averaged 20 and 12. Bosh has a better mid range game than Lee and he plays better defense, but the numbers are similar.
David Lee is the offensive post threat the Warriors have been lacking, and unlike the players they gave away, he fits perfectly into the Warriors run and gun system. He plays the pick and roll well, he can really get up and down the floor well for a guy his size, and he is smooth in transition.
Lee gives the Warriors depth in the front court, and allows them to go with a number of different combinations of players. Ekpe Udoh will likely see minutes at both the three and the four, and Anthony Tolliver will be a good option off the bench.
This trade also gives Golden State another interesting option. There have been multiple teams that have contacted the Warriors about their starting center, Andris Biedrins who is just 24 years old, but already has six years of NBA experience.
Getting rid of Biedrins who is owed 36 million over the next four seasons will definitely free up a lot of space for the Warriors to operate. The Nuggets have been especially interested in acquiring Biedrins, and if they were to make a deal they could possibly get a player like Kenyon Martin who has a huge expiring contract.
The Warriors really won big in this trade. By getting a player of Lee's caliber they establish their foundation, and can get a good sense of which direction they want to take the franchise in. Golden State has put themselves in a good position to succeed in the long term.
With a good young nucleus of Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, David Lee, and role players Anthony Morrow, Reggie Williams, Ekpe Udoh the Warriors are only a piece or two away from being a serious playoff team.
With loads of young talent and roster flexibility the Warriors are a team to watch out for in the future. David Lee may not have been the big prize of this year’s free agency but the Warriors will no doubt take what they can get. I see the Warriors improving on their 26 wins of last season, and taking strides towards becoming a consistent playoff team as a result of the trade.