Warriors executive board member Jerry West said guard Monta Ellis was maybe his favorite player but the trade was worth the risk. Actually, risk is too strong of a word.
“Frankly, I don’t see a risk here myself,” West said before Wednesday’s game atBoston. “I don’t. We get one of the best big men in the league. Period.”
West called Bogut the third-best center in the league and said the future rewards from the trade outweigh the setback the Warriors will endure now. He all but salivated at the prospects of putting Bogut with forward David Lee, point guard Stephen Curry and rookie swingman Klay Thompson.
West said he recognizes Ellis had a special place in the hearts of fans. But losing Ellis, and even second-year big Ekpe Udoh, was a necessary casualty. West pointed out that the league is pining for centers and said several teams wanted Bogut. That the Warriors had what it took to land Bogut was a good thing.
“I think next year, oh my goodness. If I were a fan, I’d be very, very excited,” West said, later adding, “You cannot judge a trade by what happens today. I think you have to look at what happens in the future. I think there’s a lot of people particularly in the league, who I talked to, that thought we did really well.”
West said the trading of Ellis wasn’t an admission that Ellis and Curry didn’t work. He said they did work after learning how to play together effectively. He said the trade, though, was more about seizing the opportunity to land a standout center.
But West threw in a few other bonuses he expects to come along with the departure of Ellis – including the possibilities of Curry and Thompson together in the backcourt.
“There won’t be as much dominating the ball,” West said. “Andrew Bogut might be the best passing center in basketball. Maybe they play a little bit differently. I don’t think scoring going to be the problem. I never thought that was going to be the problem up here and it hasn’t been the problem. The problem is rebounding, protect the rim and moving the ball a little bit. I think you’re going to see a little more of that.”