By now, most of you should have heard the latest trade rumor involving the Golden State Warriors. According to a report by A. Sherrod Blakely on New England’s CSNNE.com, the Warriors were considering reaching out to the Boston Celtics regarding a trade involving Monta Ellis and Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen.
The report stated that even though the Celtics have not expressed any interest in trading Allen, that “multiple league sources confirmed … that the Golden State Warriors are giving some thought to putting together a trade package that would involve Monta Ellis going to Boston in exchange for Allen.” Note that nowhere in the report does it indicate that the Warriors and Celtics have had any talks about this rumored trade. It just states that the Warriors were “giving some thought” to the trade.”
In looking at other reports about this rumor, there is no indication elsewhere that the Warriors and Celtics have actually talked about such a trade, and so I give this trade a very slim chance of ever happening. For one thing, I question whether the Celtics would want Ellis and the five years left on his contract. And two, I question whether the Warriors would consider Allen fair trade value for Ellis.
The most interesting revelation from this report is not that the Warriors and Celtics might make a trade, it’s that the Warriors might be thinking about dealing Ellis right now. That’s the intel from this report. I can understand their thinking. I’ve wondered myself if it might not be prudent to dangle Ellis and his career-high trade value right now and see what kind of offers they get. Allen, as nice a player and as nice a guy as he is, is not fair trade value for Ellis. And if he is the best offer the Warriors could get in a situation like this, then Ellis’ trade value isn’t high enough to deal him away.
Imagine if the Warriors made this trade.
Scenario 1 (best-case scenario — and it’s not great): Allen injects a little professionalism into the Warriors’ roster, plays well in Nelson’s up-tempo offense, the fans fall in love with him a little more with each 3-pointer he hits and he helps lead a little mini-resurgence at Oracle Arena. The Warriors end the season on a small uptick (maybe finishing with 35 wins or so), and the fans are in love. Management, thinking they have the perfect two-guard (size, shooting ability, leadership) to pair with Stephen Curry in the backcourt, offer Allen a multi-year contract that’s far more valuable than what any other team is offering, and Allen returns. Over the next four or five years of his contract, the 34-year-old Allen gets older, slower, and less effective. His contract eats up a large portion of the Warriors’ cap space, and the team never breaks out of its mediocre funk.
Scenario 2 (worst-case scenario — and what would probably happen): Allen is a professional, so he comes to Oakland, does his job, plays well, but there is no noticeable impact on the Warriors’ win totals. Uncomfortable with Nelson, the front office and the Warriors’ future prospects, he shuns an offer from the Warriors and signs with another team for a shorter, smaller contract. The Warriors fans are angry because they realize the team traded Ellis for nothing.
If I haven’t made my opinion clear by now, I think this would be a bad trade for the Warriors. If Allen were five years younger, it would be a great trade. But right now, if the Warriors want to trade Ellis, they’ll need better value than that. Here is what I would look for in from an acceptable incoming trade offer for Ellis:
1. A young (23-28 years old) power forward who rebounds, plays defense and has at least a passable offensive game (a player like LaMarcus Aldridge or Luis Scola).
2. A shooting guard (same age range) with better size than Ellis who can play some defense and score (there are a lot of players who fit this description).
If the Warriors are really thinking about trading Ellis, it has to be in an effort to improve their team. I still don’t think Ellis and Curry are a good backcourt if you want to win consistently. They are overmatched on defense. I know that both players have shown better defensively than expected, but it’s still a mismatch the other team can count on most nights. I think at some point in the future, maybe even the near-future, the Warriors will have to decide on one or the other.
Curry or Ellis? Ellis or Curry?
If the Warriors decide Curry is the answer, then he moves back to his natural position (point guard) and the Warriors work on finding a true shooting guard with the size to defend other two-guards and the ability to score. He doesn’t have to be Ellis’ offensive equal (few are) because the Warriors will find other ways to score. But he needs to be good enough on offense to keep defenses honest.
If the Warriors decide Ellis is the answer, they need to acquire another guard to pair with him in the backcourt who has the size to defend opposing shooting guards. Since Ellis is at his best with the ball in his hands, the guard would have to be one who could help run the offense without dominating the ball while, again, being able to defend shooting guards, leaving the opposing point guard to Ellis.
Finding a suitable back-court partner is easier with Curry than it is with Ellis. Curry’s ideal guard teammate is a traditional two-guard. Ellis’ ideal teammate is more specialized, maybe a big point guard, or a shooting guard with point guard abilities (like Joe Johnson or Brandon Roy, and players like that aren’t easy to acquire). So, if the Warriors aren’t convinced that Ellis and Curry are a good match for each other, they might be better off dealing Ellis than Curry.
Another thing to consider. In three years, who do you think will be the better player, Ellis or Curry? I think most fans, even those who really like Ellis, would say that Curry has the higher upside. Curry’s upside is Chris Paul. Ellis’ upside is Allen Iverson. Who would you rather build a team around?
What we can take from this report is that the Warriors might be thinking about trading Ellis now while his value is up. I think it’s a good idea if the Warriors can get better value than Allen in return. What do you think, though? I know Ellis is very popular right now in the Bay Area. Do you cringe at the thought of the Warriors trading him? Or could you get on board if the right player came back in the trade?
Post your thoughts below.