The trading of players is a common practice in the NBA and this year’s trade deadline kept the deals coming. However as common as trades are, equally as common are questionable trades. This year’s most debatable deadline move came in the form of Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson for high scoring guard Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown.
The first thing worth noting in this trade is the inclusion of Stephen Jackson, something which immediately raises questions about his inability to coexist with Golden State in his first stint with the team back in 2006 to 2010. Because of this, he was immediately moved to the Spurs for Richard Jefferson, a guy who hasn’t been a key player for years and is averaging a pedestrian 9.2 points per game this season. I don’t like this follow-up move for Golden State because it basically says you would trade Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut in a one-for-one swap, and really, would you? I also don’t like giving up on Stephen Jackson, a player who, despite off court issues and track record, shows up to work every single day. He’s one of those hybrid players that can shoot the ball and drive to the rack aggressively because of his size and length; think of him as a very poor man’s Kevin Durant.
The positives I can see in this trade for Golden State is that for one they now potentially boast one of the most formidable front-courts in all of the NBA. David Lee’s dynamic ambidextrous play paired with Andrew Bogut’s ability to clog the lane and throw his body around should give the Warriors a big lift in the interior aspect of their team. The trade itself also indicates that Golden State saw Ellis as a hindrance in the development of rising star Stephen Curry. While Curry has played terrific basketball over the course of the last few seasons, his ability to stay healthy is a question mark and should not be overlooked as it is becoming a very real concern. A young player can only take so much damage without his skills being compromised, and having an elite scorer as a security blanket for Curry to not only play with, but learn from (Monta Ellis), could have been huge going forward. Curry will now be burdened with a lot more of the scoring load and may end up being the lone play-maker his team has, which will allow teams to focus on him. With Ellis on the court, Curry was dangerous as a wing shooter and as a play-maker, but without another slashing type of player Curry could struggle getting open looks. This will impact his value to his team as well as affecting his fantasy value going forward; pay very close attention to Curry’s stats in the upcoming few weeks as they will be very telling of the trade’s impact on him.
As I’ve talked about before in my previous blog posts, the lack of talented big men has made getting your hands on one a focus of every single General Manager in the NBA. Bogut is just that, very talented, but he does come with baggage. Bogut has shown in spurts that he can be the franchise Center team’s dream of, however he is another star plagued by the injury bug. Bogut is currently out for at least a few more weeks with a left ankle fracture and his return will be a gradual process. He hasn’t played in over 2 months and wasn’t exactly a dominant force when he did play this season.
Andrew Bogut to me seems to be the X-factor in this trade; Golden State traded their primary scoring option, and a top 10 scorer in the league, for an injured center that “could be” dominant at some point. I think Golden State panicked a little bit and got trigger happy when the thought of a physical force manning the paint came up. If anything, Monta Ellis was considered to be a prized asset at this year’s deadline, and letting him go in this type of trade does not reap the type of benefit the Warriors were entitled too. Had they received a valuable draft pick (or two) or another player of value I may see things differently, but that’s not how it panned out. The aftermath of this trade may be felt for years to come, and I hope Bogut returns and contributes for his new squad. If he doesn’t, this may well be one of the most regrettable trades the NBA has seen in quite a while.