By Marcus Thompson
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 1:15 pm in Uncategorized.
Did some digging after YahooSports! Ruined my flight back home after a 10-day, five-game road trip with news about the Warriors shopping Randolph (C’mon, Woj!). According to a team source, and a few sources from other teams, Randolph is on the block.
Just a few weeks ago — when all the drama about Monta Ellis’ agent meeting with the team to potentially discuss a trade — I was told by a trusted team source that Randolph, along with rookie guard Stephen Curry and second-year shooting guard Anthony Morrow, were all untouchable. Now, I’m told by a Warriors insider that no one is untouchable. Everyone is on the market.
Even Randolph, the potential-laden second-year man the Warriors touted as the centerpiece of their young core.
Even Curry, the prized No. 7 pick who the Warriors coveted so much they reportedly passed on Amare Stoudemire
Even Ellis, who perhaps could become the Warriors first All-Star since 1997.
I will say this with certainty – Randolph would welcome a trade. He would be none short of happy. I’ve heard that from several people close to him.
Why the change in plan?
Several factors. The primary one, I think, is that the team is underperforming, especially Randolph. Certainly, his attitude and lack of attention to detail has worn thin. It was expected that with Nellie out of the picture for five games, Smart — who has been working with Randolph one-on-one since he came into the league — would play Randolph. The fact that Smart didn’t, instead started Vladimir Radmanovic over Randolph and even played Chris Hunter ahead of Randolph on occasion, suggests Randolph is running out of allies in the organization.
From Randolph’s perspective, how could he flourish when he is so handcuffed? Certainly, from the outside looking in, he is held to a different standard than the other players. His mistakes get him yanked, and others’ don’t. His poor shots reduce his minutes, while others get to chuck away unimpeded. When he doesn’t rebound, it’s problem. But the Warriors are the worst-rebounding team in the league, so clearly he isn’t the only one not rebounding.
Randolph lately had been trying to tone down his game, and the results show in his lack of turnovers, which assuredly he thought would get him more time (when I asked him about it, he just gave me a look and dished out the company line).
Perhaps GM Larry Riley sees the impasse and concluded that it would be best for everyone to if they found him a new home, especially if he can help them get the difference maker they covet. And they still have Brandan Wright in tow, who is ahead of Randolph in the eyes of some on the Warriors’ staff.
One Eastern Conference executive told me Randolph isn’t the hot commodity he once was. He’s closer to a big payday but not closer to maxing out the potential he’s known for having. His attitude and effort cause concerns, too.
There was no question Curry was untouchable. Nelson and Riley said it publicly. But Curry’s struggles in the first month-plus and the rise of Ellis no doubt made Riley realize he can indeed live without Curry. I’m told they still want Curry and really like him as a player and person. But if he can help them get somebody they want, they are now willing to do it.
I still think they don’t want to trade Morrow. He doesn’t appear to have the upside Randolph has, but they love his work ethic, his attitude and his special gift.
There is also this: putting everybody on the table could mean Riley has been striking out. Three of his key pawns are hurt (Biedrins, Wright, Azubuike), two out for the year. If he is going to lure an Amare Stoudemire, a David West, a Chris Bosh, a Caron Butler or whoever, he probably learned it’s going to take more.
But why Ellis in the mix?
His trade value will likely never be higher. You almost have to see what he gets you, right?
But an Ellis trade is risky. His current play is only showing you need multiple stars. Why consider giving up the one sure one you have? Seems they did that already. (Imagine Baron and Monta together now)
To be sure, though, when you’re 7-17, the smart thing to do is to investigate every possible move.