Without a doubt, the biggest name on the trade block this off-season has been Monta Ellis. The Warriors went out and drafted SG Klay Thompson with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft. They followed that pick up with PG Charles Jenkins.
Everyone believes that the Warriors drafted to fill in for Monta Ellis because he will inevitably be traded. Last Friday after the draft, Ellis' agent Jeff Fried went to the Warriors and asked that his client be traded.
David Aldridge of NBA.com reported that Ellis had an hour long meeting with management reiterating that he would like to be traded. Ellis did say that he would like to stay if the Warriors could improve the roster.
Monta Ellis played the most amount of minutes of anyone on the Warriors last season with 40.3 MPG. Ellis also lead the team in PPG with 24.1 and SPG with 2.1.
The question now is: should the Warriors trade Ellis? There is a very strong case for both sides.
Center undoubtedly is the position that the Warriors need help at. If the Warriors were to trade Ellis, it should be for a big rather than someone like Andre Iguodola.
Iguodola is a very solid SF that could provide a lot for the Warriors, but that deal would still leave a glaring need at center.
The Warriors could look to players that would be free agents following the 2011-2012. Although restricted, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Kevin Love, and JaVale McGee would be great options. Love would more than likely require an added piece as part of a trade involving Ellis.
Dwight Howard would not be a realistic option as much as all Warriors fans would like to think. Howard would not want to come out and play for Golden State, and the Warriors would have to trade away too much to get Howard.
If the Warriors are unable to acquire a solid center in a trade, they may be forced to trade for Iguodola. This will only happen if the Warriors are unable to improve the team in free agency.
The free agent market for centers is not too shabby.
Restricted free agents Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan are both very desirable. Gasol is likely going to be getting a huge contract and is out of the price range for the Warriors. Jordan actually averaged 0.2 more rebounds than Gasol and would be much cheaper.
Tyson Chandler, Kris Humphries, and David West are all going to be unrestricted free agents this offseason. Surprisingly, Humphries was fifth overall in rebounding with 10.2 RPG last year. Current Warrior PF/C David Lee was seventh in RPG at 9.8.
Khris Humphries, I believe, would be a perfect fit to play along with David Lee.
The Warriors are stuck with an ultimatum. They must either find a C/PF in free agency to improve their rebounding and defense or see Monta Ellis leave in a trade.
With the amount of C/PF depth available in free agency, a Monta Ellis trade does not need to happen. New Warriors head coach Mark Jackson knows that Monta is a very special player. Ellis could easily be an All-Star on a contender, and Ellis knows this.
If the Warriors are able to keep Monta, that would mean the Warriors wouldn't need to keep Ellis and Curry on the floor for a majority of the game. Rookie Klay Thompson should be able to fill in while Ellis or Curry are on the bench.
Defense and rebounding must be a priority in free agency this offseason. The pieces are starting to come together in Golden State, and the playoffs do not seem too far away.
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