Bruce Bochy and his San Francisco Giants shocked most of the baseball world by needing all 162 games of the regular season to earn a postseason berth and then using that berth to reach the pinnacle of the sport for the first time since the team moved West.
There's not really a trade (save for a Pau Gasol-type robbery perhaps) that will bring Riley and Smart the same result. However, Bochy was able to make one critical decision that the Warriors' front office needs to adapt...yesterday.
It's certainly no secret that the Warriors most pressing need nearing the trade deadline is for a dominant big man to patrol the paint. That big man's presence would boost (or in some cases, establish) the team's shot blocking abilities in the paint, overall rebounding prowess and the club's ability to get points out of the post.
That player was supposed to be Andris Biedrins. At least, that's what the team thought when they threw $63 million for six years his way in the summer of 2008.
Now, that same contract is forcing Biedrins into action, seemingly regardless of how he performs.
As Warriors' beat writer Marcus Thompson pointed out recently, "The politics of NBA does play a role. More minutes for Udoh likely means less for the $9 million-a-season-starter in Biedrins, or Lou Amundson, signed as a free agent to be the Warriors' big man off the bench."
If the politics of the basketball world crept into the major leagues, perhaps Giants fans would have never heard of Andres Torres and would have been forced to wait for next season for Madison Bumgarner to get a chance to pitch in the big leagues.
The Warriors Front Court Should Be...
But Bochy refused to abide by the politics, benching his two highest paid players (Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand) with the organization effectively eating those contracts and playing better, less expensive players. The results of that move? Well, let's just say that the World Series trophy is still making the rounds in Northern California.
It's time for Riley and Smart to follow suit. It's going to be next to impossible to move Biedrins and his three years and $36 million left on that deal. It's going to be impossible to move that deal without parting with Ellis or Curry, something that ownership is open to doing, but is unlikely to get anything near their value in return.
The solution can come from two sources: players already with the club, or trade options that won't require Ellis/Curry in the deal.
With the Warriors logjam of big men on the bench, Smart could try out different combinations involving more minutes for Ekpe Udoh and Amundson and some minutes for Brandan Wright.
If the Warriors look at trade options, players like Washington's Andray Blatche, Dallas' Brendan Haywood or Milwaukee's Drew Gooden could be cheap options that might not require much more than expiring contracts. If the Warriors are willing to part with more assets, they might try to make a run at the Clippers' Chris Kaman, the Wizards' JaVale McGee or the Grizzlies' Zach Randolph.
No matter the route that the Warriors brass choose, the important thing is that they choose a route. As much as it hurts to sit a guy making that much money, it hurts even worse to trot out an underperforming player while better options waste away on the bench.