The Warriors made a pretty satisfying trade today, dumping Stephen Jackson and Acie Law off on the Charlotte Bobcats for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic. We should be happy about this for three reasons:
1. Trading Jackson to a playoff team would have been unbelievably frustrating for the Warriors and their fans after the way he reminded everyone that he’s still Stephen Jackson this summer and into the season. The thought of “Shaq-Jack” hugging each other after playoff wins in which LeBron James actually did all the work is enough to make anyone’s stomach turn.
2. While Radmanovic is a flaky, defense-averse 3-point chucker (which should make him a Don Nelson favorite), Bell is exactly the type of player the Warriors need. He’s tough, he’s vocal, he cares about defending and he’s still relatively productive. Much rather have him showing Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow the ropes than Jackson.
3. The Bobcats just took on Jackson’s escalating contract for the next four years including this season, while Bell’s contract expires this year and Radman’s after 2010/11. While some were excited about the possibility of Boris Diaw coming to the Warriors (Billy Owens 2.0?), Diaw’s contract goes just as long as Jackson’s and the Frenchman rarely stays mentally engaged for longer than a half-season at a time. To think that for some reason he’d get consistent as a Warrior would be incredibly naive.
Pretty funny to plug this trade into the ESPN Trade Machine and see that by John Hollinger’s analysis this trade would lead to fewer wins this season for both sides (-1 wins for the ‘Cats, -4 for the Dubs). However, Hollinger’s deal is a computer program which doesn’t account for the stench that Jackson brought with him both in the locker room and on the court and the albatross that Robert Rowell’s insane extension had become for the foreseeable future. Or the fact that Morrow is going to get a lot more playing time. Or that joining Bell with Ronny Turiaf and Mikki Moore gives the Warriors a large enough group of veterans who care that it almost makes up for their lack of an established star. Almost. OK, not really, but at least the Warriors got rid of about 60% of their intersquad drama today.
(As for the Bobcats, who knows what the hell they’re doing. I wonder what Michael Jordan thinks about the financial hell the Bobcats are setting themselves up for, let alone the anguish of watching Jackson heave flat-footed threes in fast-break situations. Assuming Jordan even knows Charlotte has completed this trade, which is a pretty big assumption.)
Now that the Warriors have done the unthinkable and made an intelligent move both basketball-wise and financially, the questions remain. With Kelenna Azubuike probably done for the season, are the Warriors done making moves? Is Nellie really ready to step down? Are the Warriors shopping Monta Ellis? Do they have to trade Monta in order to keep Curry happy? Maybe so, according to an interview Curry just did with Dime Magazine before the Knicks game in which he got benched (Dime also got Jackson to announce his desire to leave Oakland during a block party in NYC over the summer, which means they are outstanding shit-disturbers).
How happy is Curry to be a Warrior?
Dime: Now that you’re standing right here in the Garden, are there still times you wished you slipped one more pick and were drafted by the Knicks?
Stephen Curry: I left that all in the summer time. Once summer league started and I put the Warriors uniform on, I just tried to be happy where I was picked.
Nice. Glad Curry has gotten over his disappointment. And what does the rookie think about how Monta welcomed him to the team?
Dime: Did it bother you when Monta said that you and him couldn’t coexist on the court?
SC: Not really, I think it was just … uh … you know. I don’t really know what was going on in his mind when he said it, but at least give me a fair chance to come in and prove myself. And we did that in training camp and now we’re fine, so it was just a veteran marking his territory kind of thing. So it’s cool.
Trust me, it isn’t cool.