Sunday, July 4, 2010

Warriors Trade Rumor: It's a Three-Way

Courtesy of the NY Post, by way of Golden State of Mind, we have the latest of what are sure to be many trade rumors involving the Warriors. We know the team is looking to get rid of long-term contracts (see Maggette, Corey) and to add bodies to play center (see Gadzuric, Dan--actually don't). The team is looking to build around point guard Steph Curry and erase the mistakes of the Mullin era, read Monta Ellis and Andris Beidrins.

Here is what the Post has cooked up with their specialty, a writer's trade idea masked as a rumor from unattributed sources:

"When Stoudemire becomes official, it would end the five-year era of David Lee, but set up a possibility of a sign-and-trade to add another piece. There's been rumors of a three-way trade talk between Golden State, Minnesota and the Knicks where Lee winds up with the Timberwolves, Monta Ellis comes to the Knicks and Al Jefferson goes to Golden State. Lee visited Minnesota yesterday and it has only $7 million in cap room, meaning he'd want a sign-and-trade."

I would be glad to have either Lee or Jefferson on the Warriors. Yes, Jefferson has a lackluster season last year (17.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks) and had ACL surgery in 2009. It typically takes players two years to fully recover from a tirn ACL and the 2010-11 season would be that year. Before his injury, Jefferson was one the best offensive centers in the NBA, averaging 23.1 points and 10.9 rebounds. He's not a good defender but he would be a bull in the paint. If Curry can get reliable production out of Anthony Tolliver, I think he could work some magic with Al Jefferson.

David Lee might be an even better fit. First, he is more durable, playing 81 games for each of the past three seasons. Second, he greatly improved his offensive game last season, averaging 20.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He, like Jefferson, is not a strong defender but he would be an ideal partner to play the pick and roll with Curry out of the high post. He passes well, has a reliable mid-range jumper and the athleticism to consistently get to the rim. Besides, you can't build Rome in a day. Defense is key to building championship teams, true. The Warriors should be focusing on getting out of the Lottery before worrying about if they are Larry O'Brien material.

Importantly, both guys are good citizens. No motorbike, er, moped accidents. No sulking or complaining about teammates either. They go out and play hard. They just don't play effective defense. Then Monta isn't exactly known for his shut-down defense either. If they can land either big man, the Warriors would have my full support. In other words, I expect nothing like this to happen at all.

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