As described by Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com today, the trade to acquire center Andrew Bogut from the Milwaukee Bucks was the biggest transaction of this year as, "...the center the Warriors have been chasing for years, the basis of the hope for major gains on defense and the boards, a big man who will fit perfectly into the loaded offense because he can pass as well as score."
And if the Warriors end up making the 2013 NBA playoffs, it could be considered one of the biggest trades in the recent history of this beleaguered franchise that we've all come to love. But as we've discussed countless times here at GSoM, we really can't evaluate that trade until Bogut actually plays and we see the results of his acquisition on the court.
That trade, or what it represented, was also essentially the centerpiece of Bill Simmons' Grantland piece detailing the sordid history of the Warriors' franchise leading up to owner Joe Lacob getting booed on Chris Mullin Night this past March: it's would not be unreasonable to suggest that the Warriors' disastrous history over the last 30 years or so is defined by the search for a big man with Bogut either being the light at the end of the tunnel or just another mirage to add to Simmons' list.
Although we might have to wait to assess where that trade fits in franchise history until at least after this season - if not later - each blog in the SB Nation NBA network is scheduled to make a post about the best trades in team history this Wednesday, which gives us an opportunity to look back at the bright spots we've experienced as Warriors fans.
So in advance of that network-wide effort - perhaps using Simmons' account of the Warriors' history as a starting point - we ask you: what is the best trade in Golden State Warriors' history?
There's no question that the GSoM community has thoughts on this, so feel free to leave your opinion in the comments. But for now, I offer five possibilities in reverse chronological order (plus an additional one just to show how dismal things have been).
March 13, 2012: Warriors acquire Andrew Bogut & Stephen Jackson from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Kwame Brown, Monta Ellis, and Ekpe Udoh
As said above, this trade might not pan out at all - if Bogut doesn't return to form, it could just be another disaster given that Udoh is a young, talented player. But again, if it helps build the team into a sustainable playoff contender - something that hasn't happened in about two decades - it could certainly end up being among the most significant trades in franchise history.
January 17, 2007: Warriors acquire Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Josh Powell from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Ike Diogu, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Keith McLeod, Troy Murphy
I probably need not tell you the significance of this trade: it's the trade that helped the Warriors finish over .500 for the first time in over a decade after an exciting finish to the 2006-07 season, make the playoffs and upset the number one seed Dallas Mavericks. This trade catalyzed the We Believe run, a brief reprieve from years of disappointment.
Most of us were probably more excited during the We Believe playoff run than we were when we first learned of the trade, but it's hard to imagine being a Warriors fan without that 2007 run.
February 24, 2005: Warriors acquire Baron Davis from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Speedy Claxton, Dale Davis, and cash
If the 2007 trade with the Pacers catalyzed the We Believe run, this trade that netted Baron Davis was essentially its foundation. And in terms of value, it was the first time in a very long time that the Warriors clearly ended up getting the better end of the deal in terms of player value and the eventual impact on the franchise.
Granted, the Hornets ended up drafting some Paul guy who was a pretty good replacement while Davis left to return to his hometown after the Warriors missed the playoffs in 2008.
August 1, 1990: Warriors acquire Philadelphia 76ers 1st round pick in 1991 (Chris Gatling) for Manute Bol
Bill Simmons suggested that the Davis trade was the best trade since Wayne Cooper for Bernard King, which is fair. But I worked like the Dickens to find anything better in the 25 years between those two trades. And here's how torturous the Warriors' trade history is: this trade for Chris Gatling really was the first one that turned out to be a good long-term basketball move before we have to dig back into the 80's when when searching backwards through history chronologically (particularly if you discount salary dumps that led nowhere and the trade for Chris Webber, which led to a whole string of disastrous events).
Obviously, Manute Bol was a fan favorite everywhere he went. And, yes, Chris Gatling had his best years elsewhere. But Gatling was also a productive role player for the Warriors and a part of that last playoff team before the We Believe run while Bol went downhill after his time with the Warriors.
Gatling also dapped up Shawn Kemp after getting dunked on, which is (unfortunately) one of my most memorable moments of him as a Warrior. It was also just sort of awesome.
Yes: this is how bad the Warriors' trade history has been.
February 6, 1983: Warriors acquire Sleepy Floyd and Mickey Johnson for Michael Ray Richardson
Ok, but seriously, the trade for Sleepy Floyd stands out as arguably the best before the Davis deal, especially when you consider that the Warriors have only produced six All-Stars in my lifetime and his only career appearance was with the Warriors (1986-87). He averaged a double-double in that All-Star year with 18.8 points and 10.3 assists, arguably the best season of his career, which also ended up being the last full season of his almost five seasons with the team.
Simmons understandably glossed over this trade in his article: as he described, "the Warriors received former All-Star Micheal Ray Richardson, who was so messed up by drugs at this point that NBA TV eventually made an entire documentary about it" in exchange for Bernard King. King then turned into Floyd, but King clearly hit his stride in New York.
So perhaps this trade could be disregarded as a corrective move that led to the franchise losing out on King's glory years, but the fact that it produced an All-Star who had a postseason ('86-'87) is noteworthy. And once in the playoffs, Floyd did work: he set the NBA playoff record for points scored in a quarter (29) and in half (39) against the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers that season. It was the only game the Warriors won in the Western Conference semifinals that year, but it still stands as one of the more memorable performances in franchise history.
September 11, 1980: Warriors acquire Bernard King from Utah Jazz in exchange for Wayne Cooper, 1981 second round pick
As Simmons also alludes to, Bernard King made his name after leaving the Warriors for the Knicks, but he was certainly one of the better players ever to play for the franchise, averaging 23.2 points per game on 56.6% shooting in his second - and final - season with the team. In that same season, he became one of those six All-Stars in my lifetime referenced above and was selected to the All-NBA second team.
Again, King did things that few Warriors in recent history (i.e. the last 30 years) have accomplished. And taking his career as a whole, King is known as one of the greatest scorers of his era, which supports Simmons' point that the Davis trade was the best since the King trade.
The argument against this trade being better than either of those above related to the We Believe team or the Sleepy Floyd trade is that King wasn't part of a playoff team, whereas those other trades led to some of the biggest playoff successes in the last 30 years.
Again, yes, even in highlighting the high points, this franchise's history has been rough.
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I'm staying within my lifetime here - and only looked back to when the franchise relocated to California beginning with the 1962-63 season - but there were a couple of other good moves related to that 1975 championship team that might be worthy of consideration.
Obviously, these aren't the only trades in Warriors' history. So what do you think? Are there other trades that you think should be considered the best in franchise history? Drop your thoughts in the comments.