Will Jerry West Advise Golden State Warriors to Trade Monta Ellis?
Reading the tea leaves, the Mercury News speculates about what new team consultant Jerry West might advise the Warriors to do, and it’s no small deal: “It’s nothing personal. It’s just basketball business. And with [Jerry] West on board as management’s newest, sharpest voice, it seems likely that West already has begun to survey trade options for Ellis. ‘I’ve seen teams trade players that score tons of points and people say, ‘How in the world can you trade that player?’ West said last week. Because he might score tons of points and the team doesn’t win. When I look at (the Warriors), obviously they need more size.’ Of course, West was not definitively referring to Ellis when he spoke those words, and throughout the conversation he added that he admired Ellis’ toughness and inventive scoring ability. But if West is instantly the team’s most influential voice in personnel moves, which I believe he is, and if he’s going to make a major move, which everybody in the NBA expects … whom else but Ellis could he trade? This is part of the West methodology; since coming to the Warriors, he has emphasized the need to take risks, and my assumption is that co-owner Joe Lacob understands and embraces this. West also mentioned two unpopular trades in his Lakers past — when he dealt Norm Nixon for rookie Byron Scott and when he dumped Nick Van Exel to Denver. Both moves, by the way, involved trading away high-scoring, ball-dominating smaller guards to clear the way for more versatile, younger talent. The point of the Nixon deal: Handing the Lakers offense, once and for all, to Magic Johnson … The point of a potential Ellis trade: Handing the keys of the Warriors offense to Stephen Curry, and, if possible, adding larger players who can play defense around him. ‘I love to watch them play,’ West said of the Ellis-Curry combo. ‘They’re so much fun to watch play. But at the end of the day, you want to win. Monta Ellis, a fierce competitor. He competes his fanny off every night. Love to watch him play. But to me, size helps. Size helps.’”