As part of the sensational trade that’s sending All-Star Deron Williams to New Jersey, the Nets are sending PF Troy Murphy to Golden State for C Dan Gadzuric and PF Brandan Wright.
The Warriors’ participation in the trade comes as a bit of a mystery, as they did not receive the draft pick they had been hoping for. Why is Golden State involved in the Williams deal? That depends on what’s going to happen to Murphy.
Murphy has an expiring contract, and there are rumblings that the Warriors may buy him out as soon as the trade goes final. Such an arrangement would be great for Murphy, who would then be free to sign with a contender. The Celtics, Heat, Magic and Mavericks have all come up as possible suitors for Murphy, who would be in an enviable position as playoff clubs jockeyed for his services.
However, that scenario doesn’t seem to benefit the Warriors in any way. Golden State got Murphy by giving up two players whose contracts were also expiring; there’s no apparent advantage in exchanging them for one player who gets bought out.
On the other hand, Golden State could keep Murphy for themselves. They've been in the market for a post scorer (Denver’s Nene had come up as one possibility), a role Murphy could fill nicely. Murphy would also bring toughness on the interior, a quality the Warriors' current frontcourt doesn’t have in great abundance.
With a full day left before the trade deadline, there is a third option. The Warriors could choose to field trade offers from the teams looking to sign Murphy, perhaps hinting that they’ll keep him on their own roster if the right offer doesn’t arrive.
In that instance, a team like the Magic could try to keep Murphy away from their Eastern competitors by locking him up in a trade before he hits the open market. The Warriors wouldn’t be able to ask too high a price, but could pick up some young players or draft picks to help build the team for the future.
No matter where Murphy ends up, the Warriors haven’t hurt themselves with this trade. However, if they buy out his contract, they’ll have cost themselves a chance to gain anything.