We have our first NBA trade deadline deal, folks. But don’t get your hopes up. It doesn’t involve Dwight Howard, although it’s still a swap involving big names.
The Warriors agreed Tuesday to trade shooting guard Monta Ellis, forward Ekpe Udoh and injured center Kwame Brown to the Bucks for center Andrew Bogut and forward Stephen Jackson, according to Yahoo! Sports.
And how’s this for irony: The Warriors host the Bucks on Friday.
Ellis, obviously, has previously been linked to trade scenarios sending him to Orlando. But instead he’ll be heading to Milwaukee where he’ll be part of a dynamic backcourt along with Brandon Jennings. Udoh, who can also fill in at center, gives the Bucks a young big man with plenty of upside.
With the Bucks hanging around the fringe of the East’s playoff picture, both players will give the team a serious boost that it wouldn’t have otherwise gotten with Bogut out for possibly the rest of the season. And then there’s Kwame Brown, who despite being Kwame Brown was a prominent role player for the Warriors before tearing a pectoral muscle in January.
Bogut, who has faced injury troubles throughout his career, has missed all but 12 games this season, thanks mostly to a fractured ankle. Golden State also welcomes back Stephen “Stak5” Jackson, who for now returns to the team for which he was a key contributor during its impressive 2007 “We Believe” playoff run. We say “for now” because the Warriors are reportedly shopping Jackson in hopes of getting another big.
In trading your star player and a young, promising player mainly for somebody who might not even see the court for the rest of this season, this deal is bad in the short term for the Warriors, who are currently within reach of the West’s eighth spot. In the long term, however, the reward is that the Warriors fill a desperate need they’ve had for seemingly forever: a center who has a significant presence on both ends. Bogut has his injury problems, but when healthy, he’s one of the league’s most talented centers.
And, as San Jose Mercury-News columnist Tim Kawakami points out, the Warriors are fine with having a sub-par team for the meantime if they end up keeping their top-seven-protected first-round pick in what’s going to be a well-stocked draft class this year. But be careful what you wish for. The ping-pong balls don’t take kindly to tanking.
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