As has been repeated infinitely this summer and in years past on GSOM and beyond, Chris Cohan's tenure as GSW owner was flat-out embarrasing. With that said, now that Lacob and Guber have purchased the Dubs for $450 million, it's safe to say most of us are expecting immediate results on the court and in the offices leading to a monumental turnaround. Unfortunately, with our current lineup, along with our cap situation, there is no way we can expect to improve beyond a few wins even if we remain healthy.
Currently, the keys to the franchise rest obviously with Stephen Curry. He is our future, and he is shaping up to be my favorite Warrior ever. We have an all-star, 20-10 caliber PF in David Lee, a lethal but undersized 20-25 ppg scorer in Monta Ellis, and a center in Andris Biedrins who has what it takes to be a double-double machine for the next decade. Looking past that, our roster is full of a bunch of role players who can all catch on fire and win us a few games but we can't expect any of them to garner much recognition among star-caliber players.
It's safe to say that the two players Golden State faithfuls would be happiest to see out the door is Ellis and Biedrins, not in a straight salary dump, but for serviceable players who fit in well with what the Warriors need.
Ellis is a fantastic scorer, possibly the best finisher around the rim in the league, and developing a reliable outside jumper. However, we all know he is also the only thing stopping Stephen Curry from becoming a mainstay in the discussions for best PG in the league. Although he often comes up with many steals and frustrates the opposition, his 6'3" frame cannot be expected to stop the Kobe's and Wade's of the NBA. Additionally, his ego requires him to make himself look like a star, instead of doing what's best for the team. I do not remember a single instance this past year where he passed the ball with the shot/game clock winding down. There was almost always a player wide open, but he preferred a contested jumper way outside his comfort zone. With Curry as our cornerstone, Ellis is definitely not needed.
Andris Biedrins is a whole new story. Here's a player who averaged at or near a double-double for 3 consecutive seasons. This past year, for one reason or another, his production level literally fell off a cliff. Injuries may have played a major role in his pitfall, but even when healthy, his attitude to the game was disgusting. He simply seemed afraid to play against the bigs of the league. While he once had super-reliable hands, he dropped pass after pass that would have been converted into dunks, he got beat up in the post by every single player put against him, and he absolutely refused to take a shot, even while being left wide open a few feet from the hoop. We'd all love for him to return to his double-double form, but with 4 years at $9 million each left on his contract, he becomes expendable as well.
Now for the fun part.
Everyone’s always talking about CP3, Melo, LBJ, all the leagues top tier players. I’d love dreaming big, too, but we have no way in hell to attract or obtain a player of that caliber. A series of trades, though, would allow us to instantly become among the favorites to be in the playoffs, perhaps even advancing as far as the Conference Finals (The West is a hell of a lot weaker this year, aside from the Lakers)
First, we get rid of our horrible contracts in this trade:
Danny Granger, in my opinion, would be a fantastic wing to work with Curry. He’s an efficient scorer, a passable defender and rebounder, and only 27 years old (D. Lee’s age). He has one of the most valuable contracts in the NBA considering his stats (25 ppg, almost 6 rpg, 43% fg, 38% 3pt). He can create his own offense, and I believe he works well off the ball as well.
Roy Hibbert would give us a huge body to replace Andris. A 7’2" frame and he’s one of the better young centers in the league (at least this past year). He shows a lot of promise protecting the rim and rebounding (and he’s 23, a year younger than Beans).
Jeff Foster is included to make the salaries work. His contract along with Radmanovic’s and Gadzuric’s give us about $20 million in expiring contracts which could easily be turned into another great player from a team looking to shed salary.
Now considering this from Indiana’s perspective, they drafted Paul George who can easily be their starting SF (I’m assuming he’s their future SF to eventually replace Granger, anyways). They get Monta Ellis to be their go-to scorer, which they lack aside from Granger, and they get Biedrins, who we all know is capable of being a double-double machine, and Brandan Wright, who is unnecessary because of his similarities to Ekpe Udoh and the Pacers need another PF.
We include a top-5 protected first rounder along with two second rounders and this becomes very plausible. Here would be the lineups following this trade:
PG: S. Curry
SG: R. Williams
SF: D. Granger
PF: D. Lee
C: R. Hibbert
PG: D. Collison
SG: M. Ellis
SF: P. George
PF: T. Hansbrough or B. Wright
C: A. Biedrins
Next up, we fill up our need for a starting SG (I love Reggie, but I'd rather he be a 6th man). Many names come to mind, but the most plausible pick up would be Andre Iguodala. He's a player very similar in build and ability to Danny Granger, but having them pair up on the wing with Stephen Curry quarterbacking and David Lee down low... It has me drooling on my keyboard already.
The 76ers are in a position where they have no cap flexibility being $10 million under the salary cap, they are expected to be among the worst teams in the East, and they just drafted Evan Turner who plays the same position as Iggy. In my opinion, they'd be willing to dump Iguodala for cap relief and an asset. This trade would be tougher to pull off given our limited assets, but here's my proposal:
The trade obviously failed but notice that in 10 days the trade will work once restrictions fall. We'd have to take on Nocioni's hefty contract but I feel it's worth it. We'd include the $3 million maximum in cash, along with an unprotected first round pick in 2014 (We lost our 2012 pick to the Bobcats, I believe, and we'd give either our 2011 or 2013 pick to the Pacers in the Granger trade). We'd also include a second rounder or 2 sometime down the rode.
The Sixers might be hesitant to bight, but it's definitely possible. Here would be our final lineup after these two trades:
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Andre Iguodala
SF: Danny Granger
PF: David Lee
C: Roy Hibbert
Plus another player we'd be required to sign for the minimum.
These summarized trades would not improve our depth, would not improve our cap situation, will not help us net a top-5 player, but they will, in my opinion, make us a hell of a lot better, and get us into the playoffs each and every year until our contracts expire. Once Granger's and Iggy's contracts come off the books in 4 years, we'll have some cap flexibility (only Curry and Lee will probably command major contracts) and Curry will be 25 or 26 years old, entering his prime, and already be used to being a winner on the NBA level. I can definitely see the trades happening. It would definitely be a nice way to kick off the new ownership.