February 12, 2010

Trade Deadline: Best-Case Scenario

The best-case scenario is that the Warriors do nothing. We should all be praying for this.

Smart trading follows one simple rule above all others: "buy low, sell high." And while the NBA features no shortage of buy-low candidates -- Ramon Sessions and Tyrus Thomas rank among the most intriguing -- very few Warriors have a higher perceived value than actual value right now. In fact, thanks to health issues and Nellie's incompetence, most Warriors are currently perceived as less valuable than they actually are. The Warriors are more or less unable to sell high.

Monta Ellis? What the guy's doing isn't working in the slightest, and other teams are aware of that... the Warriors have to get Monta Ellis functioning again before they can trade him for real value.

Andris Biedrins? Biedrins is again one of the best rebounders, best shot-blockers and most efficient field-goal scorers in the NBA, and Nellie's claiming he's hurt and is acting annoyed about having to coach the guy. The Warriors would be selling a good 23-year-old center for pennies on the dollar if they traded him right now. Does that sound smart to you?

Corey Maggette? There was a window in which the Warriors could've moved him for value, but with his injury, that window has surely closed. The team should still look to move his contract, but would be better-served to wait till the summer to do it, when other pieces fall into place around the league and his contract starts looking less burdensome by comparison.

Anthony Morrow? He's showing real signs of life for the first time all year... now, when his overall numbers are modest, is no time to trade him.

Stephen Curry? There's actually an interesting argument to be made that NBA teams are too conservative about trading rookies, for fear of the moves blowing up in their faces... the last team that moved a touted rookie in midseason, the '94-'95 Wolves, made out pretty nicely in the Donyell/Gugliotta deal. And if the Warriors could take advantage of Curry's rookie halo and move him for, say, the rights to Ricky Rubio and a dump of Vlad's contract, it might be worthwhile. But barring a monstrous-upside play like that, why move a very good young player who's improving by the month?

Kelenna Azubuike? Brandan Wright? The logic against trading these guys should be obvious. If the addition of Azubuike or Wright would allow a blockbuster deal to go through, then fine, but the Warriors are near no such deal.

Anthony Randolph? Anthony fucking Randolph? You have a 20-year-old player whose three closest comps coming into the year (per Basketball Prospectus) were Josh Smith, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Garnett, whose per-minute production this season has been equalled by only two other twenty-year-olds in the three-point era, and you're thinking about trading that guy?

There are exactly two players that the Warriors might be able to trade for value right now: Ronny Turiaf and C.J. Watson. Ronny would work better as a sweetener in a deal than as a trade chip by his lonesome; it's hard to see the move that'd be worth shipping him out for in the next six days. CJ? Okay, you could trade CJ. A trad sending CJ to the Bulls for their first-round pick, thus widening Chicago's cap space for free agency purposes, continues to look like a sensible move for both sides.

But CJ and only CJ. The Warriors have badly dampened the value of most of their players this season, and would be ill-advised to make deadline moves even if they didn't have an incompetent front office. We fans mustn't hope for deliverance next Thursday, for none will be coming. The best we can hope is that our valuable young pieces weather the storm, and that they'll still be here when Cohan, Riley and Nellie have all been mercifully put out to pasture.

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