What’s that on the ESPN crawl?

Sorry for the long blog silence on my end and thanks to Marcus for keeping things going. I was taking some much-needed R&R, but I guess that’s over…

Since ESPN has been all over this morning’s story, let’s get some things out of the way first:

* I didn’t assert that the Pistons and Warriors are in current negotiations because I don’t have proof to back that up. If I did, that would have been the lead, and Baron’s decision not to opt-out (something that’s been widely expected by pretty much everyone who reads this blog, or has a pulse) would have been buried eight paragraphs down.
* What I do have is someone whose information and motives I trust telling me that the Pistons are interested in Baron and are willing to deal Rasheed and Chauncey (in general, not just for Baron), a stance that matches up with Joe Dumars’ “no sacred cows” speech at the conclusion of the Pistons’ season.

Let’s not go jumping the gun and buying BD a plane ticket out of town, but let’s say this … if these two teams aren’t currently contemplating such a deal, they should be.

When you write a news story about two opposing sides of a debate, you know you’ve done your job well if neither group has a complaint; that means you’ve given equal treatment. A trade with Baron and Al and Chauncey and Rasheed as headliners is kind of the NBA’s version of that theory, something with pluses and minuses on both sides.

They clear the decks for Rodney Stuckey to take over at PG in 2009-10. They don’t have to worry about next summer, when Rasheed will be looking for a new deal that will take him to 37 or 38 years of age. They get the best individual player in the deal in Baron, and can either let the $17.8 million slide off the cap to use as space to chase another free agent, lock Baron up with their own extension (although that seems less likely, given that they love Stuckey), or sign-and-trade him to any one of the teams that are desperate for point guard help (the Lakers, Clippers and Trail Blazers all jump to mind immediately).

They get back a forward who may not fit what they want to do (Al’s not going to be able to replace Rasheed’s defensive versatility). And unless they proactively sign Baron to an extension, there’s always the chance that he’ll walk away and they’ll have little to show for their two best players.

They get arguably the second-best option to plug their power-forward spot (the best option is busy smoking victory cigars and having free drinks bought for him in Boston), especially given Rasheed’s 3-point range. They get rid of one player (Al) who was unhappy with the way he was used last season and another (BD) who was disappointed by the team’s lowball extension offers this summer. They get another big point guard who can defend 2 guards so Monta Ellis can play the same 2-on-offense/1-on-defense hybrid that made him one of the league’s hottest young players.

They give up a lot of years in this scenario (BD is 2 1/2 years younger than Chauncey; Al has more than 5 years on Sheed). A LOT. And while that jump-starts a final push under Nellie, it puts them in jeopardy of paying out eight figures three years from now to players on the far side of 35 who have declined.

Any deal with Baron won’t happen until after July 1 (and won’t be finalized until July 9) because there’s no reason for Baron to agree in writing to not use his opt-out provision. We’ll have to wait and see if Thursday changes the dynamic for either team before determining if this possibility remains viable.

— Geoff

Geoff Lepper

Geoff Lepper has covered the Warriors since 2005 for the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. Before that, he covered baseball and college sports for the Marin Independent Journal.

  • darkknight01

    getting an old Rasheed Wallace on this team with his sorry attitude worries me. Can the W’s afford to have technical fouls rack up with Wallace and Jackson on the same team? I would take Prince ahead of Wallace and keep Harrington if it can be done.

  • darkknight01

    I think the W’s should try and trade down a few spots if they can. If they want to deal up then they should use Baron as bait.

  • Stevein Concord

    I hope this is just another pre-draft rumor. If not, please pass on this deal Mully.

  • Warrior Worrier

    The w’s should concentrate on going into the future with young players and a plan rather than this next season with past-their-prime players and a go-for-broke attitude. Let Baron play his butt off this season while working for a new contract and see how he fares. Then the Warriors can resign him to a new contract for the future or a sign-and-trade for players they can use with good contracts. The two Pistons are past-their-primes, expensive, and will not be part of the Warrior’s long term future. Next years team will still be competitive and fun to watch with (hopefully) Wright and Belinelli and this years draft pick joining Monta, Andris, Baron, Jax, Kelenna and other new players. Would I like the W’s to bring in an impact player or two? Sure, I just don’t think these two guys (Rashheed and Billups) are the right players. Used properly, AH can help the W’s and can always be traded next season when contending teams are desperate for help down the stretch run. Same goes for Baron. The W’s do need an experienced PG to spell Baron this season and a young PG (Monta?) to groom for the future. Marco seems like an intelligent player, let him play and learn under fire both at SG AND PG (in limited minutes).
    Thirty teams will be going for the NBA championship this year…only one will win it. I’ll settle for seriously competing for a playoff spot with an exciting team this year as long as the team is making serious progress toward championship contention somewhere further down the road.

  • Warrior Worrier

    It’s about twenty hours and counting to the start of the 2008 NBA draft. What will the W’s do? Make a major trade or stand pat. Draft an NBA-ready player or another one of Mully’s athlete/projects? Will W’s fans be rejoicing or muttering and cursing? What about the other NBA teams? Will there be major surprises or will teams play things close-to-the vest? I’m excited to watch how things play out but am not expecting any major fireworks this year. Enjoy the show everybody. Go warriors

  • manhattanproj

    i would do it, if pistons also include amir johnson or jason maxiell or this year’s pick.

    if sheed works out, great. it’ll be like a one year loan. and he can mentor beans and wright and maybe this yr’s rookie. if not, w’s can probably trade him before the deadline.

    billups isnt the same player as davis. but at least he won’t be disgruntled and he’s a bit more steady.

    even with the current team, the w’s are hard pressed to make the playoffs with the up and coming blazers and assuming the clips are back. why not shake things up and see what happens?

  • Niners in 2009

    Whats wrong with you guys????

    This trade would make us title contenders. And we don’t sacrafice any of our youngsters in the process. Two thumbs up.

  • pistonfan13

    It’s funny that no Warrior fan or Piston fan wants to see this happen. I live in Detroit and while Baron Davis is a better player than Chauncey the offense isn’t going to work with him dominating the ball and nobody wants to see Al Harrington here. For the Warriors, they get old quick and with the west the way it is you still don’t have a championship contender. Bad trade for both teams.

  • Manute Nol

    BD’s value is as high as it has every been. Now would be a good time to trade him because if he were to get injured during next season then we are likely to receive less talent if we intend to trade him before next years trade dead line.
    Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace are true veterans that have been to the finals and have rings to show for. There leadership along with Stephen Jackson would transform the Warriors into an instant contender that no one would want to face in the playoffs.
    As much of fan I am of BD, I would rather be at the Oracle for game one of the 2009 NBA Finals Championship game than waiting for the 2009 draft to begin.

  • darkknight01

    Rasheed Wallace a mentor??

    LOL….Thats funny….

  • darkknight01

    Awful hard to trade the heart and sould of the team B Davis and to replace him with an inconsistent mal content like Wallace. If anything I would rather see the W’s trade Baron and Harrington to Miami for Marion and the #2 pick or try and get D Wade!

  • Tjdoog

    Dont do it Detroit. its a bad deal. BD is always hurt, & Sheed is way better than that guy

  • darkknight01

    If Brandon Rush is there, then I think they should nab him. He is big and strong, 6’6, 210-215…will get stronger, can shoot and slash, but more importantly he can play defense. If Randolph falls…they should pick him ahead of Rush. I don’t know about Kousas…I think he may play soft defense and the warriors don’t need soft defenders. If they go Center than Hibbert would be a better option IMO. He can bang, play defense, make free throws, and has some offensive skills. Donte Green or Darrel Arhtur may be options. I don’t trust Thompson….he reminds me of O
    Bryant…not good…

  • Jeff

    This deal is a no-brainer if it’s available for the Warriors. Would you rather have Baron for one more year, five more years, or Chauncey for three years? Baron’s contract demands have been excessive… Would you rather have Harrington for two more years, or Sheed for one, followed by a legit shot at a big free agent? Sheed’s an expiring contract, so the Warriors get cap space next summer. 2009 Free agents include Boozer (if he opt out), Brand (if he doesn’t opt out this year), Bogut & Lee (restricted free agents) and Odom. With the trade, the Warriors are better next year, and potentially a lot better beyond next year.

  • darkknight01

    Rush wasn’t there so picking a guy with Randolphs skill set that late is good value IMO. Good pick by the Warriors…