What a fun trade this is! Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reported that the Milwaukee Bucks have traded Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors in return for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown.
For the past three-and-a-half seasons, Monta Ellis has been the honorary captain of my “Players I Love to Watch But Wouldn’t Actually Want on My Team All-Star Team”. The cat can score and swipe the rock in bunches, but he’s inefficient offensively, mostly ineffective defensively, and simply didn’t fit next to Stephen Curry in the long-term plans of the Warriors. His talent is undeniable, but he was wasting away on a franchise that is spinning its wheels and he deserves a shot at contributing on a potential playoff team like the Bucks.
Milwaukee is a fantastic fit for Ellis because nobody was buying the idea of Brandon Jennings as an alpha scorer and the Bucks have started to look pretty feisty lately. Ersan Ilyasova has exploded into inexplicable stardom recently and the Bucks have won four of their last five games while rising to eighth place in the Eastern Conference. A potential starting lineup of Jennings, Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova and Drew Gooden makes them a rock-solid lock as the hipster’s NBA squad of choice among teams that are actually a lot better and more fun to watch than the lamestream could ever understand.
I feel like the remainder of this season will help me make up my mind about Ellis’ true value once and for all. Will he mesh with coach Scott Skiles’ disciplinarian ways while providing the requisite late-game scoring this team will need to advance past the first round of the playoffs? Or will he and Jennings replicate the “more is less” backcourt he formed with Curry in Oakland? I’m excited to find out the answer.
Ekpe Udoh is highly-valued as a defender by some Warriors fans, but his anemic offense and rebounding leave me cold. Kwame is Kwame, and while he’s not close to rivaling Joe Smith as the most well-traveled first overall pick (Smith played for 12 different franchises), this will be his seventh NBA employer. (As noted by a commenter, Kwame is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.)
On the other side of this trade, the Warriors are banking on some rare luck with a healthy Bogut and Curry next season in combination with a potential stud rookie if they secure a top-seven pick in the next draft — they forfeit the pick to Utah if the pick is eighth overall or lower. There are 10 teams with worse records than them at the moment, so we can safely assume the Warriors are greasing their tank treads for the rest of this season.
While there are no guarantees about the future health of Curry and Bogut, you could do a lot worse in terms of players to build around at the point guard and center positions. As for Captain Jack, his NBA career would probably be over if he didn’t have another year at $10 million left on his contract and if the Warriors weren’t inclined to let him loose to sink their season so they can keep this year’s draft pick. He turns 34 in April and he’s fallen off hard this season. He will soon learn what Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson found out before him: Every high-maintenance player reaches a point where he’s just not worth the trouble anymore.
No matter what happens with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol over the next couple of days, this humdinger ensures that this year’s NBA trade deadline period isn’t a complete dud. As a bonus, the Bucks and Warriors both have fantastic online fanbases so I’ll appreciate reading the reactions of their blogs and message boards almost as much as I’ll enjoy Monta’s audition to prove me wrong about him.
This trade might not seem particularly sexy to a casual fan — but for an NBA nerd like me, this rivals the idea of Anthony Randolph randomly becoming relevant during the Timberwolves’ playoff surge. I’m not holding my breath for that to happen, so this trade will have to do.