Monday, January 28, 2008

Taking the Next Step

(Note: I would like to thank suckaflea for providing me the motivation to write this post. I don’t think I have enjoyed researching a post more than this one)

As those of you who read my last post regarding the Warriors player grades know, I think the Warriors have a glaring weakness down low that is keeping them from having a realistic chance to advance in the playoffs. The bottom line is we need someone who can rebound the basketball on both ends of the floor without disrupting team chemistry.

Here is how I define the player that fits our needs:

-- Can play the 4 or 5
-- Rebounds on both ends
-- Can run the floor better than me (I can run the floor better than Mbenga)
-- Doesn’t need a lot of offensive touches to remain happy
-- Would only take a three pointer if he had the ball with less than 2 seconds on the shot clock or game clock
-- Does not require the Warriors to trade Ellis, Baron or Biedrins

I have grouped the nine potential clients from least acquirable to most acquirable:

(Example: Dwight Howard would be in a group called Never Going to Happen)

Doesn’t Hurt to Ask
David Lee (New York Knicks)
Anderson Varejao (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Andray Blatche (Washington Wizards)

At the Right Price, You Got a Deal
Josh Boone (New Jersey Nets)
Jeff Foster (Indiana Pacers)
Ben Wallace (Chicago Bulls)
Samuel Dalembert (Philadelphia Sixers)

You Take Our Bum and We Will Take Yours
Zaza Pachulia (Atlanta Hawks)
Jamaal Magloire (New Jersey Nets)

I limited my choices to the Eastern Conference because I do not think anybody (even Seattle) is interested in making the Warriors better. Instead of going through endless scenarios, I have picked my 4 favorites and they are in order of least favorite to most favorite

Trade #4 – “We need to win NOW”

Al Harrington and a First Round Pick for Ben Wallace

The Salary Breakdown:
07/08 Season: $8,425,625
08/09 Season: $9,226,250
09/10 Season: $10,026,875

07/08 Season: $15,500,000
08/09 Season: $14,500,000
09/10 Season: $14,000,000

Net (I am not including the benefit of not having to pay a first rounder into the following calculation)
07/08: $6,574,375
08/09: $5,273,750
09/10: $3,973,125

Total: $15,821,250

Why would the Warriors do it?
I don’t love this trade but I really like it. You are basically paying a $15 mm premium (I know it is more like $10 mm but I don’t feel like doing the math) to have the following starting lineup THIS YEAR:

PG: Baron
SG: Monta
SF: Jackson
PF: Biedrins
C: Wallace

This lineup can make a run for the NBA Championship. Of course, Wallace is going to be worthless in two years but he would play some inspired basketball this year and next. He is sick of Chi-town and a change of scenery would be HUGE for him. You will be hard pressed to find a more rock solid starting line-up in the NBA (I don’t think there is one).

Why would the Bulls do it?
This trade is a no-brainer for the Bulls. They get rid of the “worthless to them” Ben Wallace and they get another first rounder to help them build around Deng, Heinrich and Gordon. They also save enough money which will help them afford those three players over the next three years. In addition, Harrington gives them a player down low that can score, which is a huge problem when your current low post players are Wallace, Joe Smith (yikes), Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas.

Trade #3 - “Don’t ruin team chemistry so keep it simple”

Pietrus for Zaza Pachulia

The Salary Breakdown
The money doesn’t make a huge difference in this deal as Pachulia has 2 years, $8 mm left while Pietrus is a free agent.

Why would the Warriors do it?
I like this trade because Pietrus is not crucial to the Warriors, so he is expendable. This trade would not make the front page of the Chronicle, but it does bring some balance to the Warriors roster without messing with any of the key players in the current rotation.

Pachulia would bring so much added toughness without needing a lot of touches down low. However, his offensive skills are far superior to Wallace, which could come in handy on the offensive glass.

Why would the Hawks do it?
Pachulia is not in their long term plans so why not save $4 mm next year.

Trade #2 – “All good trades start with Isiah Thomas”

Harrington, Pietrus and Belinelli (or Wright) for Jerome James, David Lee and Quentin Richardson

The Salary Breakdown
I know it may be shocking to you, but you’ll just have to trust me that Harrington and Q have almost the exact same contract, so they cancel each other out. Belinelli and Lee are basically the same, with Belinelli having a few more years on Lee (both in time on earth and length of contract). The big “this is why this trade works” clause is the Warriors taking James’ contract that pays him about $18 mm over the next three years.

Why would the Warriors do it?
Nobody - and I mean nobody - fits the criteria better than David Lee. Here is the bullet point breakdown:

* Rebounding machine
* Runs the floor like a young Rasheed Wallace
* Brings it every night
* Young and Cheap

The only hesitation on my part is that he may be a year away from making the impact the Warriors need right now. However, you never know until you put him out there.

The “icing” of this deal is Q. It is not a mystery that he has been lost since leaving Phoenix and he is a system type player (he only plays well in a certain system – think Stackhouse). Luckily for the Warriors, they run the exact system in which he thrives. In addition, he gives Nellie the “stretch the defense” threat that he might fear losing by trading Harrington.

The Jerome James contract is just the premium you have to pay to get Lee

Why would the Knicks do it?
In layman’s terms? Isiah Thomas has no idea what he is doing. Besides that, the Knicks dump one of their bad contracts and add a much more productive player (Harrington) in their system (if they even have a system) than Q. They get a look at Pietrus who plays some defense and could develop into a slasher which the Knicks desperately need. In addition, they get Belinelli as a throw in and you never know what he could turn into. I will admit that giving up Lee is still rather far fetched, even for Isiah.

Trade #1 – “Best Short-Long Term Move”

Harrington, Wright and a First Round Pick for Dalembert

The Salary Breakdown
Dalembert is making about $2 mm more than Harrington over the next three years, but he has an extra year on his deal for $12.2 mm. Wright has your standard rookie contract and the first round pick would get the fixed contract at the time.

Why would the Warriors do it?
This is the Warriors starting line-up for the next 3 years:

PG: Baron
SG: Monta
SF: Jackson
PF: Biedrins
C: Dalembert

I agree, we are at least the 4 seed in the playoffs for the next 4 years. I should not have to write anymore, but I will. Dalembert brings everything that Wallace does, but he is younger and about to hit his prime. The youth tax is Brandan Wright who we can all admit has a ceiling of 13 and 8. (I doubt he even gets that far). Dalembert’s biggest negative is his attitude, but winning and age has a way of fixing bad attitudes (see Randy Moss). This trade is the one that can, and will, propel the Warriors into the group of elite teams for years to come.

Why would the Sixers do it?
Who cares? The Sixers make this trade because Dalembert is a piece to a puzzle, not the cornerstone of a franchise. Harrington is a nice addition that makes their team more competitive, but the real value is in Wright and the draft pick. They have Lou Williams (the most underrated young player in the NBA) manning the outside and they are starting to position themselves to play a similar style of basketball to the Warriors. Two first-round picks only helps in that process. I am not going to deny that trading Dalembert hurts, but adding a top 10 pick (Wright) and another first rounder only increase their chances of building a strong young nucleus. Ultimately, Wright and a first rounder are too much for the Sixers to pass up.

There you have it. Four trades that all makes sense for all teams involved and improve the Warriors significantly. I am not going to hold my breath for them to happen, but for those of us that want to see an NBA Championship come to the Bay Area, either the Spurs move West, or one of these trades has to happen.



Suckaflea said...

The Suckaflea rebuttal

How do you feel about Boone's foul shooting after the Nets game?

Varejao is out after turning his ankle per

Trade #4
I really like this trade. The Warriors don't need any, and I mean any, scoring from the 4/5 they need to acquire. All they need is the Rodman-esque work horse to pull down boards. The biggest issue for this trade is the money the Warrios would have to pay Wallace. Although, it's really only one and a half years of bad contract because "expiring contract" is the Siren's song to NBA GMs and it wouldn't matter that it was $14 million. I'd love to see a game where Biedrins doesn't have to play the 5 and won't be forced into getting ticky-tack fouls called on him.

Trade #3
This is the under-the-radar move that, to me, is very volatile. Can Zaza play in the Don Nelson system? Would he have to? What I like most about this trade? No more Pietrus. He's a decent enough player, but he's got a low basketball IQ, which I can't stand. He's a square peg in a lineup of round holes, insert "Your mom" joke here.

Trade #2
I think this is the best deal of them all. Q and Harrington essentially cancel each other out, with their contracts and 3-point shooting. You take Harrington out of the 4-5 and put in Lee, but you don't lose the 3-point shooting because you have Q. Harrington is from NY/NJ, sell that to Isiah. Lee has already proven enough of his ability that it'd be safe, in my eyes, to give up Wright. This would be my #1 because I really like Lee. Remember when he won the high school dunk competition? Jerome James, the new Patrick O'Bryant?

Trade #1
I haven't seen enough of Dalembert to give an indepth comment on him. Would he fit into Nellie's system? Didn't he just sign a new contract? Is it a good or bad one?

What about Webber?
It's all on KNBR these last couple days and I don't quite understand it. He's not really what the Warriors need. He shoots jump shots and doesn't rebound anymore and he doesn't run well. Rt, your thoughts?

RT said...

I will give some feedback on my trade proposals a little later on but here is the quick Webber take:

A Ridiculous move. I appreciate that he is coming on the cheap but what exactly does he fix?

He takes bad shots, cannot run the floor at all, and he is going to be eaten alive by basically ever power forward on any team in playoff contention in the west.

The Warriors need someone who can play some D and grab some boards. Webber does none of that.

At least most of the Bay Area media realizes how stupid this move is.

I am so sick of playing for the eight seed that it is not funny anymore

thefantasticpoolio said...

The Nellie sales job on this one is that Webber is a passer from the post/elbow and that he can get BD, Jackson and Monta easy baskets on curls and cuts to the basket which improve the half-court offense and get them away from so many 3-pointers.

I agree with you that he cannot get the rebounds they need or play the defense they need or run the floor like they like to, but he can help the offense in the half-court which they need and will need in the playoffs. As I said earlier, I will take a wait and see approach.

See my post to your earlier article about Boone.

I love the Wallace trade except that doesn't take the future into account, which is bright for this team. You've got to love the potential of Biedrins and Wallace closing down the lane with their shot blocking and improving dramatically the rebounding of the team. Also Wallace (the only man ever to guard Shaq straight up with success) would be our answer to Boozer (the Warriors version of Shaq) and maybe the most boring player in sports today (Tim Duncan).

I like the Lee trade because I like Lee. Q does nothing for me and I would prefer Harrington to Q because strikes me as less of a malcontent. I don't Thomas will be trading anyone soon because that is a sinking ship and he is going to go down with the guys he chose.

RT said...

Let me get this straight:

We pick up Chris Webber and they (the Lakers) pick up Pau Gasol.

If any of you have a reason why I should watch the rest of the Warriors season, I am all ears.

By the way, "we are going to make the playoffs and lose in the second round" is not a good reason.

In addition, "we are really exciting" is also not a good reason.

Nothing like playing for second place.

Suckaflea said...

RT, you're beginning to sound like a Red Sox fan circa 1996-2003...

But yeah, that hurts. Ouch. Well, if Kevin McHale didn't love Danny Ainge so much the Warriors could have KG right now. I refuse to believe otherwise.

Reason to watch the Warriors...give me a's coming...uhhhh, waiting to see if the Warriors can win 20 games after being down by 10+ points? They're already at 11.

thefantasticpoolio said...

The reason to watch the Warriors: the Lakers were already ahead of them in the standings, so this isn't going to change the situation that much. Also if the Warriors play the way they did against the Hornets last week, more consistently and C-Webb does half the stuff that Nellie hopes he will, the Warriors have a chance to go past the second round of the playoffs.

Plus, can we please not crown the Lakers just yet. I don't see that this makes them better than the Suns or the Spurs or the Mavs just yet. Also you can't be mad about the Warriors not upgrading with a Gasol type splash. They don't have the pieces they are willing to trade, plus the Lakers gave up first draft picks for two of the next three years. If this trade doesn't make them a lot better today, it is going to hamstring them for awhile.

So before we go all doom and gloom let's just take a couple of deep breathes.

RT said...

Let me make somethiing crystal clear.

The Red Sox front office signed one of the best pitchers (Pedro) and hitters (Manny) of all time in their prime and they still bitched and complaind from 1996 - 2003. If any of the Bay Area front offices came close to equaling this feat, I would have to shut down this website because I would have nothing but praise for them. Most fans can only dream of having such an aggressive front office. Red Sox and Yankees fans are spoiled brats and the only difference is Yankee's fans demand accountability when things go wrong and Red Sox fans blame a ghost.

Anyways, I agree that the Lakers over-paid for Gasol and I would never suggest the Warriors do the same for him. Also, I am not handing them the NBA Championship but I am conceding that the Warriors need to answer that move (see original post) to compete with them and the Suns, Mavs (maybe not the Mavs), Spurs, Hornets (one game does not change the fact that they would win a seven game series) and Jazz.

The original theme remains very relevent - The Warriors are not going to win an NBA Championship with this cast of characters and we, as loyal fans, should not be happy with the front-office/ownership for their lack action.

The Warriors have never been more exciting and I love their style of play but I want a championship!

thefantasticpoolio said...

I understand what you mean about making big efforts to get the best players in the game. I agree that the Warriors did not do that and as fans we have the right to demand more of an effort from the front office.

I just have a hard time being critical of the front office when they like players they have up and down the roster and are not willing to give up draft choices because they have confidence in their ability to draft players for their system.

All that being said, if the Shaq to the Suns deal goes through, like it appears it will. The Warriors need to seriously look into Ben Wallace or Dalembert trades because the best in the West, just got a lot better.

Suckaflea said...

I've soured on the Ben Wallace trade. I'd like to see Dalembert or Pachulia. What about Nocioni?

Also, I've heard rumblings that Denver and the Warriors might be exploring Artest. So RT, should the Warriors get Artest? If so, what should they give up?

Suckaflea said...

I can't stand Pietrus. He's a basketball moron and he's missed his last three shots. He can't even play well enough to get his trade value up. Ecouté mon ami, you're not playing a lot because you stink with this team. This is the NBA, if you don't seize your limited opportunities you'll be a 8 minute a game player.


He does hustle, I'll give him that. ...and Air France just landed after I've been dumping on him.

Suckaflea said...

Oh Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!!!!!

Monta Ellis, he's good.

Suckaflea said...

btw, I'm "blogging" the Warriors game live at the moment.

Halftime Analysis
Warriors don't have their shot after the five day layoff. 38% from the field, 15%(2-13) from 3. Keep shooting guys.

Chris Duhon is shooting out his ass. 7-9 from the floor and 4-5 from 3. He's a 38% career shooter! 35% from 3. WTF. It won't last. Keep shooting Chris.

Suckaflea said...

Barkley just ripped Pippen for being ugly on TNT. There was some fave-5 thing from verizon or whatever. Chuck's all, "One of the great players, not the most attractive guy, but a great player, Scottie Pippen."


Ben Wallace shooting Free Throws = Scary

RT said...

I hope at the end of the blog you mentioned rule #234 in the NBA rule book that states:

"If you drafted Joe Smith or the Candyman and he comes back 10+ years after you drafted him and scores 27 or more points on your home floor, your franchise will be relocated to Calgary immediatly to save ownership and the fan base the embarrassment of having to play out the rest of the season in your city"