Since all this LeBron James madness is lost on us basketball observers who care about the local squad, we’re left to figure out whether the Warriors will be able to retain Anthony Morrow or C.J. Watson.
Yawn. Why don’t the basketball Gods just supply us with a bunch of herbal decaffeinated tea and a never-ending loop of “Big Love” episodes if they want us to go to sleep that badly? Luckily for us, we have speculative trades and the ESPN Trade Machine. It’s great fun, and I came up with a couple trades that could work for the Warriors in each of the three ways they’re hoping for right now:
1. Contract(s) with fewer years remaining.
2. No more Andris Biedrins, who’s obviously on the block.
3. Without spending any more money, the team that’s left is still good/entertaining enough to sell 17,000 tickets a night (the most important way).
1. Andris Biedrins to Dallas for Caron Butler
Remember when everyone thought the Mavs would give the Lakers trouble after the traded for Butler and Brendan Haywood? Yeah, not so much. Butler did only a slightly better job of assimilating than Richard Jefferson did in San Antonio, and the Mavericks made an embarrassing first round exit from the playoffs. Since Mark Cuban and “cap space” have never been heard together before, it’s hard to believe Dallas has much use for Butler’s expiring contract, and Biedrins is tall and Euro enough to entice Cuban and Donnie Nelson. With Biedrins obviously needing a change of scenery and Butler’s contract expiring at the end of the season, this trade would work for both sides.
Starting lineup after the trade: Curry/Monta/Butler/Randolph/Turiaf
2. Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins to Minnesota for Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Martell Webster
The numbers on this trade work perfectly — $20 million a year for both sides. Plus, Jefferson asked for a trade this week and the T-Wolves have been rumored to be shopping Love (to the Warriors, too). Here’s a couple problems: everyone knows David Kahn is a moron (and the Darko Milicic contract from today proved it once again), but the rumors say he wants Randolph. Also, this trade leaves the Warriors without a legit starting SG.
However, this trade works out great for the Warriors in a few ways. A Randolph/Love/Jefferson frontline would immediately erase the rebounding disadvantage the Warriors face almost every game. Jefferson’s two years removed from knee surgery, and was averaging 23/11 when he went down. Love is one of the best passing big men in the game and the Warriors, um, don’t pass all that well. Webster is a solid performer who can defend multiple positions and solidify the bench, and all three players have fewer years remaining (3 each for Love and Jefferson and 2 for Webster) than the 4 years left on both Ellis’ and Biedrins’ deals. No expiring deals here, but with Carmelo Anthony the only guy worth clearing loads of space for and the chances of him deciding to move to Oakland being anywhere between slim and “hell no,” this isn’t a horrible alternative. Plus, since it’s Kahn, you could probably convince him to sweeten the pot with a 1st-rounder or two.
Starting lineup after the trade: Curry/Azubuike/Randolph/Love/Jefferson
Note: it might be obvious that I think Randolph is more of a small forward than a power forward. I don’t really, but if the Lakers proved anything this year, it’s that if you’re going to have guys on the floor playing the same position, it’s better if they’re big. Playing three guys over 6’9″ makes a lot more sense than playing 3 guys under 6’5″. Sorry Nellie.