Monta Ellis, current Milwaukee Buck may be looking for a new team to call home at the end of next season.
As the current annual NBA trade deadline came and passed, many believed that there would have been a deal in place to send Ellis out of town, most likely in a deal involving Atlanta Hawk's forward, Josh Smith.
However, sources claim that those deals fell through at the last minute, scrambling, the Bucks were able to acquire Orlando Magic guard, J.J. Redick who many believe will become Ellis' replacement next season should he not re-sign with the team.
Ellis, who is having a career worst season shooting 40% from the field and 22.7% from behind the 3-point arc, has struggled alongside fellow backcourt teammate Brandon Jennings. Milwaukee is currently clinging to the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference with the resurgent Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers within striking distance.
Meanwhile, his former team, the Golden State Warriors, is enjoying one of their best seasons in a very long time and look to lock up a playoff spot and will be a very tough out for any first round opponent.
Could things have been even better for the Warriors?
So it looks like the Warriors did just fine. With the emergence of Klay Thompson, the healthy and near All-star performance of Stephen Curry, the surprise achievements of Jarrett Jack off the bench and the inspired play of David Lee, the Warriors have surpassed even some lofty expectations set for themselves this year and have Oakland talking of reaching the Conference Finals.
Many criticized them for trading away Ellis, who was thought of as the leader of the team, for an oft injured big man, Andrew Bogut. This season, Bogut has yet to prove his worth to the team, playing in only 12 games so far this season while battling injures.
The Warriors did the right thing in trading away Ellis. He, although a very gifted guard, often took control of the ball too long, taking ill-advised shots and struggled with the team concept. By giving the reins to Curry, the Warriors now have a defined leader who can run the floor.
The biggest need for the Warriors arguably was to provide Lee with a capable back-up or more capable frontcourt mate. Someone who could come in, make plays on defense, spread the floor, play either Power Forward or Center position and be able to start or come off the bench. That role was supposed to be filled by Bogut.
But could the Warriors have gotten a better deal?
Now, I have no sources on the matter, this is purely my thoughts on the issue and have discussed this with other sports fans, some admittedly with some hostility.
However, picture this. What if the Golden State Warriors had not traded Ellis to the Bucks, and instead, traded him to their hated cross-state rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers? Ok I'll give you a minute to curse, scream, cry, applaud and get a sandwich.
The numbers directly wouldn't have worked as Gasol makes about $8 million more than Ellis. So perhaps a third team or if various bolts of lightening came down and allowed this deal to happen while keeping Harrison Barnes and Thompson.
The Lakers would have finally had a young point guard to run their offense and who was also more than capable of creating his own shot while taking some of the offensive load off of Kobe Bryant's shoulders. Dwight Howard would not have had to be a second scoring option, instead focusing on being dominant on defense and rebounding.
The Warriors on the other hand, would have been instant favorites. Gasol can spread defenses, while playing either front court position, is willing to come off the bench, but is also able to play 35-40 minutes a game as a starter. Everything that they wanted wrapped up in a neat package.
Last season, Gasol shot 50% from the field, grabbed 10.4 rebounds, dished out 3.7 assists and had 1.4 blocks a game while providing 17.4 points. Numbers that without a doubt overshadow Bogut's modest production in each category.
Now, I'm not knocking Bogut for his production (or lack thereof) as coming off of injuries and having any sort of production in the world of professional sports is extremely difficult and should be commended. However, the NBA as has been proven time and again, is a business.
Could you imagine how much more dangerous Golden State could have been had Ellis gone to LA instead of the Bucks?