A place for me to talk about San Francisco Bay Area sports.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Great Trade for the Warriors

On January 18, 2007, the Warriors made the big trade Mullie's been wanting to do for some time now, which is to get Al Harrington. To be able to dump Troy Murphy's and Mike Dunleavy's contracts at the same time makes it seem like a masterstroke, until you realize that it was Mullie who signed them in the first place.

But I quibble. The Warriors traded away Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod, three players who either were not seeing significant time or facing the probability of lessened playing time, to the Indiana Pacers for the power forward they were trying to get all off-season in Al Harrington, plus Stephen Jackson (one of the brawl-ball incident participants plus other sordid situations post-brawl), Sarunas Jasikevicius (a Lithuanian highly praised by Don Nelson's son, but who has disappointed in Indiana, and Josh Powell. That clears out Murhpy's and Dunleavy's four year huge contracts that had been named as reasons for the Warriors to worry about losing their young core of Ellis and Biedrins when it is their turn to cash in.

This is a great trade for a number of reasons. First, Harrington is the type of power forward Nelson has been needing to go with his other players who are now the core of the team - Biedrins, Ellis, Davis, Richardson, Pietrus, and Barnes. Both Murphy and Diogu had been disappointing for one reason or another all season long, while Biedrins has broken out as the center of the future for the Warriors this season, as Biedrins start to show the potential that he exuded when the Warriors first drafted him. His emergence has also finally pushed Foyle to the background, where his talent belongs, despite the big money he signed for (never understood that signing, as much as I like Adonal personally, from the interviews I've heard with him. I thought, good for him, making the money, but what were the Warriors thinking?!? True, there was no better center out there but I think it would have been better to trash a season than to hogtie the future with his contract).

Second, as noted, Murphy and Dunleavy's contracts have been named as potential strangling points on the resigning of young players due big contracts, like Ellis, who has also come out in a big way this season as the next generation point guard for the Warriors, and Biedrins. So it is good to lose their contracts while getting Harrington, who does fit into the Warriors future. Plus Jackson is an established quality player who will help the Warriors while Richardson is still recovering and Pietrus is still sometimes inconsistent in his production, though he has been better lately.

However, both Harrington and Jackson still have 3 seasons left versus the 4 for the two traded players, so I don't see at the moment how much help that gives the Warriors, but will accept the writers' pronouncement that it has helped. I don't really understand the NBA's salary cap situation and rely on the media for help with that. I have to assume, though, that Jackson will probably be traded at some point, perhaps the off-season, to clear up more space.

On top of that, both Harrington and Jackson are considered much more athletic than Murphy and Dunleavy. That is more conducive to Nellie's up-tempo offense that has had its ups and downs this season. Plus, they should be additive to the defensive effort whereas the players the Warriors gave up were poorer defensive players.

And, at minimum, Baron Davis is buddies and/or off-season workout buddies with both Harrington and Jackson. That should translate into a much smoother integration of the new players into the offensive flow now that Baron has served his one-game suspension and will be in uniform for the next game. I think the Warriors showed how good they can be with their new players in the Cavaliers game, despite the loss.

Why Get on the Warriors?

And that's what I didn't get about the Merc's report on the Warriors about their loss to the Lebron-led Cavaliers. The writer was clearly negative about the Warriors loss. However, Baron was not playing due to the suspension for a swipe he reportedly took at another player (he says he was trying to get the ball) and yet the Warriors, with little practice time with their new players, forced the 23-16 Cavaliers into overtime and was still close enough to win or tie the game at the end (106-104), so I don't get the negativity.

The Cavaliers are among the top teams in the Eastern Conference, with Detroit and Washington. And only the Suns, Lakers, Jazz, Mavericks, and Wizards (only slightly, basically the same at .600) have a better winning percentage than Cleveland's .590, which would translate to basically 50 win campaign in an 82 game full-season. They are a good team led by a true superstar in Lebron James, so one would think that the Warriors pushing them to overtime with four new players and two new starters in tow was a good thing.

Warriors Looking Good for Second Half Run

I think the game bodes well for the future, with Baron coming back and Richardson chomping on the bit to get back and play with the new players. The Warriors now have a good starting five in Davis, Richardson, Jackson, Harrington, Biedrins, and a good set of players coming in after them in Jasikevicius, Ellis, Pietrus, Barnes, Foyle, and Azubuike. Still one or two too many swingmen, so perhaps another trade is brewing, but add another big man to the mix and the Warriors are looking pretty good at mid-season with a 19-22 record but in 10th place and only 2 games away from #8 Minnesota and 2.5 games away from #7 Nuggets. The Warriors look poised for a playoff push, despite these personnel problems, as the new players get integrated into the flow of the team, which is more in sync with their personal style of play than the Pacers slow-down offense.



Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I forgot to emphasize one point, which I was reminded by an article by Tim Kawakami, where Mullin noted that Richmond is coming back soon.

That's what most people are forgetting, Richmond is still not on the team. And he's no nice part for a team, he's a high-voltage scorer and an All-Star caliber player. Without him, the Warriors had some tough losses plus a squeaker against the Nets.

The Warriors could have won all those games instead had they had Richmond playing those games at full strength instead of sitting them out. So I think it bodes well for the rest of the season once Richmond is back on the team and starting.

Friday, January 26, 2007 8:51:00 AM


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