The window of opportunity for the Warriors to win a championship is small and directly linked to the coach and veterans on the team. Baron Davis has one more year left (assuming he opts in by the June 30 deadline). Don Nelson is under contract for one more year (though he has express the possibility of continuing to coach beyond 2009.) Stephen Jackson has 2 years left. Baron is the key component to a championship run, but the other two mentioned play a large part in the championship equation. As Baron goes, so goes the Warriors.
If you believe that the Warriors are close to putting together a championship caliber team, you may be willing to sacrifice a little bit of the future to add the necessary pieces to vault you into serious NBA Title contending conversation. The Warriors were considered one of the best teams in the tough Western Conference until the last few months of the regular season. For various reasons, the Warriors didn't get it done in the end and, although winning 48 games, fell short of the playoffs.
Two players that intrigue me and have always seemed like a good fit for the style of basketball we play here are Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace. Both are intense, competitive, savvy veterans. One is a lockdown defender, while the other is a versatile scoring big man. Both are All-star caliber talents. If we can get one of those two guys without giving up multiple picks or our core players, we will be mentioned as one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference.
Plan A: Acquiring Ron Artest
Artest is on the his final year of his contract. He can opt-out and hit the free agency market this year or he can stick it out, collect his $7.4 million, and walk away from the Kings for nothing. For a team like the Kings in rebuilding mode and no realistic shot at the playoffs, it's in their best interest to turn the enigmatic Ron Artest into young, cheap talent that can be developed and eventually play a role in recapturing the magic of the Webber/Bibby/Stojakovic/Miller/Divac years.
Artest for the Trade Exception and #14 Pick should get it done. They immediately shave $7.4 million off their budget and add a second lottery pick that can be used in conjunction with their #12 Pick to fill in the many holes in their roster.
Draft DJ Augustine at #12
Draft Anthony Randolph at #14
PG: D.J. Augustine / Beno Udrih
SG: Kevin Martin / John Salmons
SF: Francisco Garcia / Anthony Randolph
PF: Mikki Moore / Shareef Abdur-Rahim / Kenny Thomas
C: Brad Miller / Spencer Hawes / Shelden Williams
The key players on this team are either pretty young or pretty old - not much in between. There will be growing pains, but that will allow them to secure a high lottery pick for the next two years in a time where trying to make the playoffs with what they have is a longshot.
Golden State Warriors
With the addition of Artest, the Warriors get the 'Tru Warier" - a player that epitomizes defensive intensity, toughness, and ultra-competitive fire. Some say he's a little crazy but put in the right situation with a team with solid leadership, chemistry, and great coach, he'll be fine.
Imagine a team with 3 of the best steals men in the NBA. Teams would remain on their heels, playing with less confidence, and being unable to execute as successfully as they are accustomed to. Turnovers lead to easy buckets, fewer shot opportunities for the opposition, and more wins for the Warriors. Although Artest is undersized as a PF, he'll have better success matching up with the Boozers and Stoudemires of the West because he is so strong and savvy on the defensive end. He'll be able to lock down the opposition's best swingmen as well. On top of that, he is a legitimate offensive threat, possessing a good post game and the ability to hit the long bomb. With more offensive weapons on his team, he could cut down on taking ill advised shots and focus more on defense and rebounding.
2007-2008 Game Log
Draft Kyle Weaver with the #49 Pick.
Use part of the MLE to acquire Francisco Elson.
Invite Julius Hodge to camp and sign him if he fits.
PG: Baron Davis / C.J. Watson / Kyle Weaver
SG: Monta Ellis / Kellena Azubuike / Marco Belinelli
SF: Stephen Jackson / Matt Barnes / Julius Hodge
PF: Ron Artest / Al Harrington / Brandan Wright
C: Andris Biedrins / Francisco Elson / Kosta Perovic
Ron Artest - Still Crazy
Plan B: Acquiring Rasheed Wallace
After being defeated 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conderence Finals by the Boston Celtics, Joe Dumars has publicly stated that no one is untouchable and that he will do whatever it takes to make the team better. Celtics are going to be a powerhouse for a while. LeBron will inevitably get better and be surrounded with a stronger supporting cast. Orlando is an up-'n-coming team with Dwight Howard improving his game. Toronto is going to improve with Bosh and GM Brian Colangelo leading the way. The Pistons can't afford to stand pat and watch other younger teams pass them by.
Rasheed Wallace's act may have worn thin with Pistons brass, so they should be open to trading him before they loose him for nothing. With the original five not getting any younger, it's time to usher the new guys into the fold: Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson, and Cheick Samb. Maxiell has played solid rotation minutes, but Johnson, who Dumars is very high on, appears ready to step up if Wallace is moved. Rasheed Wallace is a $13.7 million expiring deal, so teams that are at the edge of contention will be competing for Dumar's approval.
2007-2008 Game Log
This 3-way trade that includes the Atlanta Hawks seems to work for all parties.
Golden State Warriors
Incoming: Rasheed Wallace, Speedy Claxton
Outgoing: Al Harrington, Kosta Perovic, #14 Pick
Incoming: Marvin Williams, Kosta Perovic, #14 Pick
Outgoing: Rasheed Wallace, #29 Pick
Incoming: Al Harrington, #29 Pick
Outgoing: Marvin Williams, Speedy Claxton
Detroit Pistons 2009-2010
Detroit gets a young SG/SF in Marvin Williams (former #2 overall pick) with tremendous size and athleticism for his position. In addition, they move up 15 spots to the #14 pick giving them a shot at a very good player.
Draft Kosta Koufos at #14 for an Okur type PF/C with great skill for a player so young.
Draft International player and develop overseas.
Resign Walter Herrmann for additional big man 3 point shooting.
Sign Keyon Dooling using the Bi-annual Exception.
Sign Julius Hodge for scoring from the 2/3 positions.
PG: Chauncey Billups / Rodney Stuckey / Keyon Dooling
SG: Richard Hamilton / Aaron Afflalo / Julius Hodge
SF: Tayshaun Prince / Marvin Williams
PF: Jason Maxiell / Amir Johnson /Walter Herrmann
C: Antonio McDyess / Cheick Samb / Kosta Koufos / Kosta Perovic
Pistons end up with a very versatile lineup with solid defense at all 5 positions. Amir Johnson is finally allowed to flourish with playing time at the 3 and 4, something Piston fans have been waiting to see for a long while.
Atlanta Hawks 2009-2010
The Hawks were one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the NBA and the return of Al Harrington will fix that in a hurry. Marvin Williams has been an embarassment considering who they passed up to draft him. Josh Smith and Josh Childress are clearly better options at the 2/3 spot, so ponying up big money for Williams' second contract makes no sense. For additional incentive to get the Hawks to trade, they shed Speedy Claxton's bloated contract ($11 million over 2 years) and are allowed back into the draft with the addition of Detroit's #29 pick.
Draft DeVon Hardin at #29.
Resign Zaza Pachulia.
Resign Solomon Jones.
Resign Salim Stoudamire.
Sign Chris Duhon using part of the MLE.
Sign Keith Bogans using part of the MLE.
PG: Mike Bibby / Chris Duhon / Acie Law
SG: Joe Johnson / Keith Bogans / Salim Stoudamire
SF: Josh Smith / Josh Childress / FA
PF: Al Harrington / Solomon Jones / FA
C: Al Horford / DeVon Hardin / Zaza Pachulia
A Hawks team the played inspiring ball in the 1st Round vs. the eventual NBA Champions reloads and improves their team depth and roster balance while benefiting financially by shedding Claxton's salary. This is a great move in the right direction to help them advance further in the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors 2009-2010
With the addition of Rasheed Wallace, the Warriors instantly become legitimate Finals contenders. Wallace is a 3 point shooting big that can defend in the post and rebound. He's still got enough athleticism to run with the Warriors and is a great fit for what Nelson loves in his big men. The window is closing fast with Baron likely gone at the end of the season so this trade gives the fans and Don Nelson possibly the best chance to succeed for next several years. This transaction lets them go out with a bang before transitioning into rebuilding mode and an all-out youth movement.
Draft Kyle Weaver at #49.
Resign Monta Ellis.
Resign Andris Biedrins.
Resign Mickael Pietrus.
Resign Kellena Azubuike.
Resign Matt Barnes.
Resign Austin Croshere.
Sign Francisco Elson using part of the MLE.
PG: Baron Davis / C.J. Watson / Kyle Weaver / Speedy Claxton
SG: Monta Ellis / Kellena Azubuike / Marco Belinelli
SF: Stephen Jackson / Mickael Pietrus / Matt Barnes
PF: Rasheed Wallace / Brandan Wright / Austin Croshere
C: Andris Biedrins / Francisco Elson
Resigning Pietrus could be a problem, but hopefully he can be had for under the MLE amount with the understanding of a much bigger role once this 'All-In' year is over and the vets are slowly but surely jettisoned from the roster. If that can be accomplished, the Warriors will essentially be returning the same core group that got 48 wins but upgrading Harrington and adding depth to the PG and C positions.
Rasheed and Baron's deals expire in 2009 while Jackson and Claxton's deals come off the books in 2010. The 2009/2010 season could be a lottery year, so they should 'tank' by playing the youth and focus on development. If someone is injured, take extra care in bringing them back into the fray. If this is done, the Warriors could end up with a very high lottery pick and a boat load of cap space to sign a big time player like LeBron, Wade, or Bosh.
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