The Golden State Warriors have made it clear to the New Jersey Nets that they want more than just Brook Lopez if they are going to get Monta Ellis in return.
I don't understand why the Warriors would not do a straight-up Lopez for Ellis deal. Yes, Monta is a phenomenal scorer but he also costs $11M a year for the next 3 years whereas Lopez is at $3M and $4M for 2012 and 2013. But money aside, talented 7 foot centers don't come along every day. Especially ones that can easily become 20pt/10rb guys. A shooting guard's performance can more easily be replaced. Think of it this way, would you rather have a starting five of Curry/Ellis/Wright/Lee/Biedrins or Curry/Klay/Wright/Lee/Lopez? Klay may be 40% of Ellis in terms of production (and improving) but Biedrins is about 10% of the production that Lopez would give you (and falling). Make. The. Trade.
Sources said that the Hornets have actually been trying to convince the Warriors to part with Curry since before last season's trade deadline in February.
On the surface, Chris Paul for Stephen Curry sounds like a no brainer trade. But before people think this is another Speedy Claxton for Baron Davis, there are some big pitfalls involved. First, Stephen Curry is a much better player than Speedy Claxton ever was and at 23, he's yet to reach his prime. Second, the market for Baron Davis circa 2004 was limited. Remember this was the disgruntled, slightly overweight Baron Davis who clashed with Byron Scott, a coach who had taken the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals. The Warriors knew they could sign Davis to an extension with not too many suitors out there. Chris Paul on the other had is one of the Top 3 point guards in the league. Every team with cap room will make a run at him and he knows it so why sign an extension when you can play for a year and get the gold rush in the summer of 2012? Curry for a one year rental of Paul is not a good move.
Paul has stated he would be more willing (though not guaranteed) to sign an extension with a team that acquired his buddy Tyson Chandler. The Warriors are pushing towards that and he would be an upgrade over Biedrins - some offense, good defense/rebounding, veteran leadership, playoff experience. Still, I don't see a starting 5 of Paul/Ellis/Wright/Lee/Chandler as anything more than the 4th or 5th best team in the West. Definitely an improvement but nowhere near what it would take to be a contender.
Looks like the Warriors are letting Anthony Morrow walk. At a time when the fortunes of the team were looking up, they lost a pretty good piece of the puzzle. Granted, Morrow is not a premiere player but he served a very important role - dead-eye outside shooting (he was one of only 4 guys last year who shot more than 45% from 3PT land).
Ever team needs a guy who just hangs on the perimeter to knock down open 3's. With David Lee as an above average passing big man, Monta Ellis driving and kicking out, plus Curry creating open shots, the Warriors needed a guy just like Morrow. Plus at only $4 million a year, he's great value considering guys like Reddick and Korver were getting $5M - $7M. Compounding the issue is that the Warriors signed Dorell Wright, who by all measure (other than height) is inferior to Morrow, to the same exact three year $12M contract. He scores less, grabs fewer rebounds, and doesn't shoot as well from the floor or the free throw line. The only way I can envision the Warriors letting him go is if he expressly asked to leave and the Dorell Wright move was in reaction to that. Two steps forward, one step back. At least we get a trade exception out of it.