26

Midseason Help

The more I think about it, the more I conclude the Warriors have to make some kind of move. The West is too deep. 45 wins may not get you in. The Warriors are clinging to the eighth seed right now, and you know Utah and Houston are going to make a run.
There are some guys out there, too. Zach Randolph is supposedly on his way to Milwaukee. He would be pricey (three years $48 million after this year), and would put to end whatever chances the Warriors have of being players on the free agent market. But imagine Randolph with this lineup? It may be worth looking into.
There are other options. Mike Miller (two years, $17M-plus after this year) would be great offense coming off the bench. He may not even cost you Al Harrington, as the Grizzlies are chock full of perimeter-oriented forwards. The expiring contracts of Pietrus, Patrick O’Bryant and Kosta Perovic just might do the trick.
Another player who would be a good fit, believe it or not, is Antawn Jamison. He’s an expiring contract ($11.6M) so he wouldn’t hurt the Warriors ability to make future moves. He’s a true scorer and a pretty good rebounder who would fit perfectly in this offense. Unfortunately, the Wizards are still in the hunt, so they may just hang on to him. But if Arenas is serious about shutting it down for the season, they may look to unload Jamison and re-stock with a cheaper player to compliment Arenas and Caron Butler. It may cost the Warriors Al Harrington, which is almost a lateral move (Antawn is probably a better rebounder and scorer around the basket).
This is a long shot, but may be more feasible than you’d expect: Elton Brand. He’s possibly an expiring contract who would be just returning from injury at around the trade deadline. He has the ability to opt out, and rumor is that he wants to. The Clippers, whose season is done, may be looking to get something for Brand now. The main problem is that the Clippers wouldn’t want to help the Warriors, especially not after the way Mike Dunleavy Jr. was treated. Plus, Brand is expensive ($15M), so the Warriors would have to give up quite a bit, maybe Harrington and Pietrus. But stranger trades have been pulled off.

Marcus Thompson

  • EJ

    i like the mike miller idea. he’d also be another option to run at the point forward and is a better rebounder than harrington and jackson combined.

  • manhattanproj

    i definitely think they need some sort of help, without giving up too much. i dont like jamison or randolph. didnt like jamison when he was here. i rather have harrington outside game and agility over jamison offensive rebounding and lack of grit. randolph, good offensive player but he has no hearts and dont play defense.

    i like mike miller and if w’s are going to live and die by the 3s, then i rather have mike miller shooting them over any current w’s. but it depends on who the w’s give up.

    w’s definitely need some inside help and inside scoring. but who’s availabe that’s going to help? i dont think there’s a deal to be made by the deadline.

    gather the chips and make a blockbuster summer deal. or use the cap to sign an impact player.

  • Dwight

    trust me, you do not want Z-bo. look what happened to my blazers after we traded him! he would slow down your game a lot.

  • EJ

    i’ve got a question. and, surprise, it’s about monta. he was nonexistent in the playoffs last year, but we lived with it because j-rich put in 19 point per against dallas and utah. what happens when monta struggles AGAIN in the playoffs this year? we really don’t have anyone who we can count on to the third option (well, until harrington can get it together). can we go into the playoffs hoping either monta or buike have above average games?

  • Ken

    Marcus and Geoff,

    I personally emailed you this post, but I hope you address it in a blog question. Lately I’ve been noticing a trend in Warrior games (that is disturbing and frustrating) which is getting off to slow starts in the 1st quarter. I think part of the reason to the slow starts is that Al Harrington is not in the starting lineup. The Warriors sometimes have trouble finding the bucket early in the game when Al being one of the Warriors most efficient scorers (I bet if you look it up Al probably has one of the team’s highest fg % in the first quarter among all Warriors) is not in there. Lets take a look at the last 7 games in which the Warriors have gone 3-4.

    Denver home game: Barnes starts, Denver goes off in 1st quarter (W’s lose)
    Denver road game: Harrington starts (W’s win)
    Houston game: Harrington starts (W’s win)
    Dallas game: Harrington starts (goes off for big first half, W’s lose)* more on this below
    Hornets game: Wright starts, Hornets explode in 1st quarter (W’s lose)
    San Antonio game: Barnes starts, Warriors down 10 in 1st quarter, (ultimately W’s win)
    Portland game: Azuibuke starts, Portland goes off in 1st quarter (W’s lose big)

    My point is in all those games (except SA) that Harrington DIDN’T start the Warriors lose. In the first denver game I understand Nellie maybe trying to start Barnes to defend on Melo and putting Jack on AI, but that strategy didn’t work as W’s lose. So Nellie makes the adjustment in the next game starting Harrington with Jack on Melo and Baron on AI and the Warriors win. In the Dallas game Pietrus started instead of Biedrins alongside Harrington and while the warriors did lose, it wasn’t Al’s fault as he went off for 20 in the first half and kept them in the game in first half. Now I’m not necessarily saying that if Al starts the Warriors will win, but my bigger point is: the Warriors should just stick with a starting lineup of Baron, Ellis, Jackson, Harrington, and Biedrins. When Nellie deviates from this starting lineup (as evident in the last 7 games) the Warriors usually lose. I can understand maybe experimenting putting Brandon Wright to start a game, but I wouldn’t have done it against a solid Hornets team (maybe Memphis or Minnesota?). In the Hornets game which Wright did start the Hornets go off in 1st quarter, Al comes off bench gives them solid scoring and production and the Warriors make a run and actually take the lead at one point, but ultimately end up losing the game. Same thing in spur game. Barnes starts gives them absolutely nothing, warriors down 10 in 1st quarter, insert AL, immediately hits down shots and gives energy, ultimately w’s win game in ot. But Nellie being Nellie starts Azuibuke in the Portland game and W’s get down big in 1st quarter. Al comes in gives them scoring and as Fitz was saying on tv is the “most efficient Warrior on floor” at one point. Even if Al started I don’t know if he would have been difference in them winning the Portland game (the way the Blazers were playing last night), but I think it would have been a difference in how the Warriors started the game. I can sort of see Nellie’s thinking…the bench has been giving mimimal production so why not try to strengthen the bench by moving Al there because he gives you scoring and efficiency, but all this becomes a moot point when you are always playing from behind after getting off to bad starts in the first quarter. I’ll say it again Nellie should just stick with a starting lineup of Baron, Ellis, Jackson, Harrington, and Biedrins. From there why not make subs and adjustments after sorta feeling out the game. Why not do all the gimmicks 2 or 3 minutes into a game?

    I’ll conclude with one more point: all the strong championship teams over the years have always had a consistent starting lineup barring injuries. Guys know whether they are starting or if they are the teams 6th, 7th, or 8th man. Granted the Warriors are not a championship level team yet and are still feeling out their team, but the starting lineup by now (30 games into season) should be set in place.

    Thoughts?

  • B-Randon

    I completely agree, I’m getting really tired of the constant line-up changes. Maybe for a lower echelon team like Memphis, Heat, etc., but not for a team who is actually winning games. It’s crazy! I love Nellie, but stick with the same starting line-up every game and divvy out the minutes according to how each game is actually going.

  • Petaluman

    Yeah, they made the play-offs last year without all this nonsense! Oh, wait … they actually changed out half their roster deeper into the season than we are right now. With Nelson, there is no necessary correlation between starting and minutes.

    I’m not in favor of a trade which risks our future for the present. I’m happy trying to make the play-offs with the present roster, whether we make it or not. Of course, ownership and/or management may see it differently.

  • Gabe

    Hi Marcus,

    What do you think about throwing the gasoline named Artest into the fire. Do you think Sacramento would do Pietrus, POB, Bellinelli for Artest. Talk about a perfect Nellie player, can guard the 4 and create matchup nightmares. Sac might be inclined to drop him with the solid play of Salmons. It would bring lots of crazy to the warriors, but I think he is expiring.

  • James

    Sorry but you must be smoking something to think Harrington and Pietrus is giving up “quite a bit” for a player like Elton Brand. That would be a steal.

  • commish

    I agree we need help and probably won’t make the playoffs without it. However, having ackowledged that, I think we should be bringing Wright along more quickly if only to learn to play some defense. We don’t need his scoring (yet) but his lenght and athleticism.

  • Marcus

    EJ,

    You really don’t like Monta, huh? C’mon. It was his first playoffs. He was nervous and struggled, then his confidence tanked. I would wait and see how he does this year to see if he’s a big-game choker. Last year was understandable, though.

    Gabe,

    Why would Sacramento do anything to help the Warriors? And no way would Belinelli be part of the deal, since Artest is a pending free agent (he has a player option and and likely will exercise it). If Artest leaves after this season, the Warriors pretty much lose a first-rounder who they like for a rent-a-player.

    James,

    I would feel you if Elton wasn’t coming off a serious injury and if the Clippers weren’t facing the possibility of losing him for nothing. Plus, they’re looking to re-load anyway. With Livingston and Brand and Cassell coming off the books, they’re going to have to get several new players anyway. There is concern Brand may never return to form. He ain’t a spring chicken. A frontline of Kaman, Harrington and Maggette and that bad, especially if they land some good guards.
    Would the Warriors get the upperhand? On paper. But not if Brand turns out to be a shell of his former self.

  • EJ

    marcus,

    your right. he was young and it was his first experience on the big stage; i’ll give him that. it’s going to be interesting to see who becomes the 3 in the 1-2-3 punch they had last year with baron, jack, and jrich.

    what about richard jerfferson? it might be near impossible seeing as how he’s a big part of their team in nj and his contract, but he’d fit nicely with the warriors.

  • BigKat

    I agree with Dwight. I’ve watched enough Blazer games to know that Zach Randolf would be horrible on the Warriors. He would completely slow down the offense and stop any kind of ball movement or rhythm. And he doesn’t play defense.

  • JustPuked

    Overall I agree with Petaluman, why screw with the chaotic mess that’s working with Nellie pulling the strings? I feel your concern Marcus, but I think it’s not as bad as you think.

    The only player in the group I’d care to look at is Brand. *If* he comes back strong, it’s a great trade. I tend to agree with James, it will take more than Harrington/Pietrus to get the Clippers to trade with a rival team. Brand would work fabulously for the Warriors and because of his contract, wouldn’t keep the Dubs from resigning Baron, Azubuike, Monta and Biedrins. Cohan would probably have to live with playing the tax, which is a smaller *if* but that’s nothing compared to the HUGE post injury *If*.

    I doubt Mullin has worked so hard to save up all this cap space to swing for the fences and potentially end up with a hobbled Brand. Intriguing possibilities all but ultimately, the Warriors stand pat until this summer which is when I expect Mullin to pull out a whopper.

  • Marcus

    EJ,

    I don’t like RJ on this team. He’s too expensive and established to come off the bench. He’s been known to complain, too. He is redundant on this team. Unless you replace him with Jack, what’s the point?
    If it’s going to be a guard or small forward, it has to be someone who can come off the bench.

    JustPuked,

    Why make a move? They’re just a game up on Houston and Utah. Utah is playing in the West’s worst conference. They can rack up wins against Minny and Seattle.
    The Warriors ARE NOT locks by any means. Even if they are, it’s for the eighth seed. Do you really want to have to knock off No. 1 again? Why not go for the fourth or fifth seed, an easier road to the Finals.

  • jeff t.

    If the Warriors could get Gasol without trading BD, SJ, AB, or ME they should not hesitate. Do you think the Ws have enough to get this guy without trading the top 4? (next year’s #1, Wright, POB, Pietrus?)

    What the Ws don’t have is someone with a post game or to get easy put-backs. Biedrens is improving, but Gasol is already there.

  • ACC

    Marcus,

    All the above players that you mentioned are not the immediate needs of the Warriors. Now that they have addressed their back-up point guard issue with the signing the impressive debut of CJ Watson, I believe the W’s need just one more guy to really make a run at the playoffs and perhaps go deep.

    Seattle is going nowhere with the way they are playing and would probably go back to the draft next year. So why not trade POB, Pietrus and Kosta (since Seattle’s big men are always hurt) for Chris Wilcox. I believe his interior presence will surely augment Andris’s game. He can score and rebound. That would bring Harrington as a 6th man. He can come off the bench replace either Andris at center (if Nellie wants to go small), replace Chris Wilcox at PF if he get foul trouble or is tired, or replace Stephen Jackson at SF.
    The above mentioned big men of the W’s are too slow for Nellie style BB so it would benefit both the teams involved. The 2 big men get to play more and the W’s need a big PF who can score and rebound.

    Your thoughts.

  • petaluman

    Hey, if we can find a trade that really improves our chances of getting a 4 or 5 seed, go for it! However, of the guys you mentioned, I think only a healthy Brand might fit in that category (remember, we wouldn’t get him for free). I just don’t see it happening, and I don’t want one that just improves our chances of getting the 8.

    We spent 12 years changing coaches every year or 2 and repeatedly blowing up our roster, and what did we get? We’re closer now than we ever were during that stretch, our team is very young with plenty of room for development, and we definitely do have a shot at the play-offs. I’d rather we not take on any big non-expiring contracts unless the deal is a steal, and the player a true blue-chipper.

  • Kyle

    Zach Randolph? Are you insane? First, he’s not an athletic forward, he would kill the warriors fast break, he doesn’t pass, and he has murphy-esque inflated board numbers (stealing boards from teammates etc.)Second, name me a Zach Randolph team that made the playoffs… All we would do is end up watching Randolph pound the post for 10-15 possessions a game. The warriors are already in the top 5 teams in points in the paint.

  • JustPuked

    Marcus, Utah is sure to pick it up and the Warriors aren’t a lock. But I don’t see an in-season trade that’s going to move the Warriors from the 8 seed to a 4 or 5 seed. That’s back to KG talk. A trade like that might happen in the off-season. I don’t see how the Dubs (Magic trademan Mullin) pull that off this year. If he can fleece Indiana again for O’Neal, then maybe, but none of the other guys, including Brand and Wilcox, are going to make the Dubs a 4 seed this year.

    BTW, Portland plays a bunch of road games coming up, and the Dubs have a bunch of sub .500 clubs for the next nine games. We’ll see how real the Blazers are (just lost to Toronto) and how hot the Dubs can get (just beat the Pacers) Plus, we’ve already played the bulk of our road games and have no more huge 5 game road trips. It’s not all negative. We may not have enough to become a 6 seed, as is, but that’s about the best you can expect for a big trade right now. Meanwhile, why screw up the off-season for the ages. The Warriors will have the cap space to be serious players this off-season. If the “magic” trade happens, it happens then.

  • Lady Warrior

    Are you kidding — I would jump at an Elton Brand and a Pau Gasol would be the clincher!

  • Petaluman

    Brand is owed 15.3m this year, and has a player option for 16.4 next year. Pau is due 13.7, 15.1, 16.5, and 17.8 over the next 4 years.

    To make either trade, we’d have to offer at least Jackson or Harrington, 1 or 2 of our best prospects, and at least 1 1st round pick. Since BW and Belinelli are the only 2 prospects signed past this year, they’d probably insist on Wright. This also means that, barring a sign and trade, they might prefer picks over prospects.

    Taking on more salary reduces the chances we can retain players next year. Outside of the 4 players mentioned in the last paragraph, Baron is the only other player with a contract next year (and he’s got a player option).

    Trading for big-time players is much harder in real life than it looks.

  • haastheman

    All those guys are to slow and too small to play for the warriors. They don’t bring anything with them. Mike Miller is good, but does he really give you that much more then azabukie? And what about balanelli? Randolph is good but too small, and who knows what it would cost to get him.

  • dareedle

    First, we are not bringing in a low post player until Cohan fires Nellie so there goes the Brand, Kaman, Randolph idea. Second, as fans we would love a bench, but Mullie is looking for financial flexibility (very cheap Croshere, Hudson, Pietrus, Barnsy type of contracts) so a lateral move for a Jamison, Miller type ain’t likely. Third, the west is just loaded .. whereas the East has one trick ponies (DWade, RWallace, JKidd, KG, LeBron) where just one player can place a team in the finals. The West needs a team that can score in transition, hits fouls shots, score in the paint, lethal outside shooting, consistent rebounding and respectable pick and roll defense with three -four legit scoring options. Even with those skills in place (Dallas), a team is likely to get knocked out in the first or second round to an equally talented opponent, hence the Kobe whining. Here is our dilema. A. Nellie wants a point forward that can shoot like a Rasheed Wallace or Harrington B. no team wins in the playoffs without an inside, half court post game C. Nellie is our only winning coach since he ran off Webber.

  • CalifOrange

    Hey Marcus,

    Where’d POB go? He was playing reasonably well before they signed Mbenga. Now he seems to have disappeared again.

    CJ Watson has turned out to be a reliable guy for 5 or 10 minutes a game, I’d like to think POB would also be able to give them that. He’s got more range than Biedrens and is long enough to change shots on defense.

  • Marcus

    POB didn’t go anywhere. He’s the same soft center he was before. It’s clear his few good games were more fluke than anything.
    He’s with the wrong francise, in the wrong system and with the wrong group of guys. He’s never going to produce consistently here.