A surprising trade upsets most Warrior fans and was the top story in the NBA on Tuesday, March 13th, when Golden State Warrior’s star player, Monta Ellis learned that he was no longer going to be playing in the Bay Area along with Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown. Ellis and his teammates found out he was headed to Milwaukee while they were in the locker room watching TV minutes before their game in Sacramento against the Kings. Warrior teammates commented saying that it was an emotional night for them and coach Mark Jackson explained that it was like they lost a family member. During an interview, Monta said he had a feeling that something bad was going to happen that day with a smile on his face. He mentioned before that he hoped to stay with the Warriors for the long run, but is still being optimistic about playing with the Bucks. Teammates and Ellis understand that it is a business and you just need to move on and focus on your goal, which is to make the playoffs.
The Warriors lineup has definitely been affected and it looks like rookie Klay Thompson might be starting more and getting more minutes on the floor. Thompson ranks ninth in the NBA in 3-point percentage; first among rookies. However, it is still less likely that the Warriors are going to be making playoffs this season. Even though they beat the Kings without their starting players, Monta and Ekpe, they will most likely struggle against tougher teams and we already saw a glimpse of that during their home game against the Boston Celtics.
In short term, the trade is devastating and painful, but in long term the Warriors might get lucky and have a healthy Andrew Bogut next season (Bogut is out for the rest of the 2011-2012 season with a fractured left ankle) and finally have a 7’0” center who led the NBA in blocked shots last season. Having a strong center is exactly what the Warriors need in order to make playoffs. Golden State also acquired former Warrior, Stephen Jackson, but traded him for Richard Jefferson, who averages 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds, and guard T.J. Ford, who averages 3.6 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 13.6 minutes. Warrior’s General Manager, Larry Riley, said, “We’ve been aggressive in the last 48 hours and feel this is another transaction that will benefit our team, both now and the future.” The trades are officially over, so now we can just wait and see the outcome of the organization’s decision.