The Warriors have effectively painted themselves into a corner of suck since July of last year. The team is not very good, even when healthy, and the payroll flexibility they had after signing Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis to extensions was effectively destroyed by Stephen Jackson’s extension and the Jamal Crawford trade. To make matter worse, Monta Ellis got paid and immediately embarked on a series of immature offenses when he was supposed to be taking a leadership role (The Warriors were delusional to think Monta was ready to be a leader). The Warriors’ front office was upset, not so much with the injury, but the lying (it’s always the lying that makes people mad) and fined Ellis $3 million dollars which then made Ellis upset. The Warriors still hang the “We reserve the right to void your contract” slogan over Ellis as he tries to rehab his ankle, visit his sick mother or whatever he’s been doing. The solution to me is simple - Trade Monta
Monta Ellis is the most attractive asset the Warriors have (Biedrins is essentially “untouchable”) that can create payroll flexibility or bring in a marquee player through a trade. Sure, I’d move Corey Maggette and Jamal Crawford for a bag bricks if I could, but that is not gonna happen any time soon. Also, Ellis’ attitude since he’s signed his contract worries me. There will be deals to be had this upcoming offseason when owners in the NBA will be looking to shed payroll as the salary cap actually goes down next season. Monta is an attractive asset to other team’s because his contract can be considered reasonable when you think of his upside. Ellis’s contract doesn’t even crack the NBA’s top 30 player salaries this season and he’s just about to hit the peak years for a guard in the Association. Ellis presents the perfect opportunity for another team to acquire him via trade, market the move to their fan base as a n attempt to be competitive when it’s purely a cost saving maneuver. The current Warriors lineup has potential to be okay and possible make the playoffs, but just making the playoffs is only acceptable if you haven’t been in 13 seasons. It’s time to build a real contender and the first step is to trade Monta for a marquee player.
Here are some possible trades to consider:
Scenario Number 1:
Monta Ellis and Kelenna Azubuike to the Hawks for Joe Johnson.
Joe Johnson and Monta Ellils are both 20+ppg shooting guards. Johnson is scheduled to make almost $15 mm next season and the Hawks could get a nice two for one in this deal. The Warriors have to pay Johnson, but it’s the last year of his deal and we all know how well he played in the up tempo Suns’ offense. Johnson could also be a valuable trading piece before the deadline as a nice scoring option with an expiring contract would likely attract numerous contenders.
Scenario Number 2:
Monta Ellis and Corey Magette/Stephen Jackson for Dirk Nowtizki
This trade verges on the insane and a lot would have to happen to make this plausible, but hear me out. Yes, I realize Mark Cuban and Don Nelson are as close to being friendly as the Hatfileds are with the McCoys. But, Mark Cuban has expressed his displeasure with the product of basketball the Mavs have displayed lately and even went as far to say he wouldn’t be opposed to blowing things up. Another two for one deal for the Warriors that would send two solid players to Dallas that would fit in on their roster and keep the team competitive. For the W’s Dirk would be reunited with Nellie and would comprise a frontcourt of Biedrins, Dirk and Randolph with Turiaf and Wright as the reserves. W-O-W.
Scenario Numebr 3:
Monta Ellils and Kelenna Azubuike for Steve Nash
This one is another reuniting deal that actually gives the Warriors a legitimate, if not old, point guard who thrived under Nellie. Granted, he’s a matador on the defensive side, but at least he’s a “real” point guard who can dribble and pass. Having a distributor like Nash on a team with a young core like the Warriors would be great for player development. The Suns unload Nash’s large contract, pick up a young shooter in Ellis and a solid, small forward in Buke who outplays his contract.
Monta Ellis for Mike Conley and Marko Jaric
Memphis may be the stingiest team in the NBA right now, but they’ve got to sell tickets like everyone else. Their roster is horrible - Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo being the only respectable talent on their team. Memphis was a team that always had rumored interest in Ellis before his extension.. Jaric is despicable, but his wife is hot (Adrianna Lima) and his contract would be movable. This would be the essential salary dump move. Using a baseball analogy Giants fans are familiar with, Conley may be a Joe Nathan in waiting. Good player that just needs a change of scenery.