Was able to confirm reports by the Houston Chronicle that the Rockets are indeed interested in acquiring Warriors center Andris Biedrins. Houston, with Yao Ming and Chuck Hayes as their expected center options next season, are in need of a big man since Yao’s ability to play again is still suspect and Chuck Hayes, while valiant and completely useful, is probably not a starting center on a playoff team.
For Warriors fans, who have been hoping for Biedrins’ departure for some time, that means the Warriors just may be able to move Biedrins. That was once thought to be impossible considering the drastic decline in his production and the three years, $27 million he has left on his contract. But apparently, Houston is a taker.
So why is Biedrins still a Warrior you ask? While this may seem the perfect answer to the Warriors’ ills, Golden State, according to multiple sources, are not at all enamored with the Rockets’ offer thus far.
I’ve been told the Rockets have offered Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill. Haven’t confirmed if they were offered as a package, but the figures add up. Thabeet, a former No. 2 overall pick, is widely regarded as someone who simply not good enough to play in the NBA and probably won’t be. There is still some hope for Jordan Hill, but he’s got a Post-It note on his back that says “stiff.”
Bottom line for the Warriors: that’s not enough.
On one hand, you would think they would trade Biedrins for a pair of retro Jordans and a bootleg DVD – just to get rid of the salary. On the other hand, there is a level of shrewd trading going on here. (I was completely with the former, but after talking with a few people, I see the logic in the latter. Not sure I would adhere to it, but I see it.) Here are both sides, as I understand them.
WHY TRADE HIM?
* Both Thabeet and Jordan Hill are up after next season. That means the Warriors would be shaving $18 million off future cap. Big-baller Lacob could even try to buy out those two, maybe save a couple million for this coming season.
* The Warriors would be getting rid of a burden, as the task of getting Biedrins back to himself impacts other players. Certainly, David Lee is better without a struggling Biedrins next to him. The Warriors offense is better without a player afraid to get fouled and who needs to get a few shots to feel involved. And my money says part of the reasons Ellis may wants to go is he’s tired of playing with guys not getting it done, such as Biedrins.
* The Warriors would free up time for Ekpe Udoh. No Biedrins means no excuse as to why he isn’t playing more minutes. Udoh needs minutes. He’s got some development to do and he’s only going to get it by playing. Smart protected Udoh most of last season, going with Biedrins even when it was clear Udoh should be playing.
* Fans have grown tired of Biedrins’ struggles. It would certainly help PR wise if they got rid of him.
*They need to go get a real center. Moving Biedrins now forces them to be aggressive and decisive. Nothing would add to the desperation like looking on the roster and seeing Hasheem Thabeet as your No. 2 center. Maybe that’s what the Warriors need to get it done. Maybe the hope that Biedrins will somehow get back to where he was would make them a little gun shy. Might lead to overspending, but that was probably going to happen anyway. Easier to do without his $27 million on the books.
WHY KEEP HIM?
*Because, even at his worst, he’s better than Thabeet. And probably Jordan Hill, too. If he gets marginally better, he’s definitely better than those guys
*You can probably get more later. Instead of selling while his stock is at an all-time low, you might as well wait it out and see if you can get a role player or even a draft pick. The guy was a starting NBA center. You just don’t give those up for nothing. If he goes to Houston and turns it around, you look awful for giving up a serviceable big man for two stiffs.
* Give the current plan (work out in the Bay) and the new staff a chance. Biedrins was at his best when he played with good facilitators (Baron, Jax). Last season, Keith Smart ran through the offense through Monta, which left everybody, for the most part, having to get their own. Biedrins is not that kind of player. He needs someone to remember him, to set him up, to make sure he eats. Maybe Mark Jackson puts that onus on Stephen Curry this year. The hard-to-swallow truth is centers are too hard to find. Biedrins, if he’s playing his game, is a solid NBA center. Until you get one better, it might be smarter just to maximize what you can get from him. Clearly, the Rockets are willing to.
* If they move Biedrins for Thabeet and/or Hill, that moves Ekpe into the role of starting center. Is that wise? Maybe they should be getting him to his natural position, PF. But if Thabeet and Hill are really not ready, that leaves Udoh, David Lee and now Jeremy Tyler as the centers on the team. If I’m Mark Jackson, I wouldn’t be too happy about that.