Even though 2014 ended in a first round exit, the Golden State Warriors have established themselves as perennial playoff team in the West. And yet, as we all know, GM Bob Myers lit a match to the coaching staff for the simple fact that this team didn’t live up to expectations. Last off-season’s haul was far from the 07 Celtics banquet of All Stars who immediately threw Boston to the top of the NBA, but the Warriors thought that Andre Iguodala was worth going all in for. The commitment of expiring contracts, future draft picks, and a truckload of salary to a guy who became a glorified glue guy hampers the team’s desire to compete with the likes of the star-laden top teams in the West.
Iguodala is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination but he vastly underperformed his perceived trade value. Nine points, five rebounds, and four assists is nothing to write home about. Especially for $35 million over the next three years. With all of the great moves that the new Warriors management has made since leaving Chris Cohan behind, the Iguodala trade may not be as great as people (myself included) thought it was at the time.
The Warriors need to add another All Star to reach that upper echelon. One thing in common with all remaining teams is that they are front-loaded with talent. OKC has Durant and Westbrook; the Clippers have Chris Paul and Blake; San Antonio has the same 50 guys they’ve had for the past 50 years; Portland has LMA and Damian Lillard.
Another common thread is the inside-outside balance. I do believe that Andrew Bogut’s presence would have won Golden State that first round series (and perhaps kept Mark Jackson his job). But with Bogut being the real Mr. Unreliable, the Warriors will look to make another splash this off-season. This is where I sit in the corner of the room evilly cackling and whip out every NBA writers favorite tool…and the bane of the existence of all NBA readers. The ESPN NBA Trade Machine *cue dramatic music*. I’m sure the majority of you will disagree that this is plausible but at least entertain the idea before questioning my sanity.
Kevin Love has been a popular option for this discussion. The problem with Love is that a) he was born in LA, b) he went to UCLA, and c) the Lakers always manage to cast the right line to bait top-notch fish in the open market. More specifically with the Warriors, Love doesn’t fill the Warriors holes to a significant extent aside for the need for a second star. Like Steph and Klay, the Warriors primary scoring options, Love is a shooter first.
Chris Bosh (who has shown an uncanny ability to space the floor) is, as he said himself in a January post-game interview, comfortable in the post. Add that to being a solid defender who can run the floor and you have exactly what the Warriors need. So here’s what I came up with:
Golden State acquires Chris Bosh
The more I think of it, the more I'd prefer Bosh to Love. Hollinger says my idea is equitable for both teams. pic.twitter.com/hVM05YzqV3
— Elijah Abramson (@ElijahAbramson) May 8, 2014
According to NBA stat guru John Hollinger’s formula, this trade does not affect the winning percentage of either team...but that means about as much as Parsons’ defense on Lillard in the closeout game of the Houston-Portland series.
It does, however, go without saying that the Warriors say yes to this trade. Bosh would be an upgrade for the Warriors compared to David Lee. Bosh has had extended experience running the 5 with small ball lineups in Miami and he could also play power forward with Bogut and Iguodala/Green on the floor.
I believe that the Miami Heat also have surprisingly good incentives to complete this trade, too. Initially, you might say that there’s no way the Big Three break up. But as this Real GM article mentions, there is a very real chance that Bosh leaves South Beach. In Chad Ford’s words: “Chris Bosh…is the most likely to leave.”
If Miami decides to shop him, David Lee and Harrison Barnes would be excellent replacements. Lee would give LeBron a chance to play his natural position (small forward) more. Harrison Barnes, who showed he is best as the second, third, or fourth scorer on a team, would fit in perfectly with LeBron, Wade, Allen, and David Lee.
Here are some potential lineups that are strikingly attractive for Miami:
- Point guard (Chalmers/Cole/Douglas)-Wade-LeBron-Lee-Anderson
- Point guard-Allen-Barnes-LeBron-Lee
- Point guard-Wade-LeBron-Battier-Anderson/Lee
Initially, David Lee at center sounds blasphemous but when you consider he is only a couple inches shorter (6’9” vs. Bosh’s 6’11”) and actually five pounds heavier, it starts to make sense. Let’s not forget either that Bosh voiced considerable disgust with the idea that he would be playing center just a couple years ago. A couple championships later, it has clearly worked out. Lee would fit well into the frontcourt rotation with Haslem, Battier, LeBron, Birdman, and whatever Oden’s knees can give.
Harrison Barnes is another real key to this. Although he had a disappointing season this year with the Warriors, that was largely the result of a role change. Instead of being a secondary option with the starters, he was forced into the primary playmaking position on the second unit. It didn’t work out. Then, surprise surprise, when he played with the starters in the playoffs, flashes of the Black Falcon of old came back.
In Miami, Barnes gives Spoelstra so many permutations with Wade, Allen, LeBron, Battier, and the trio of point guards. Barnes can play either forward position which means if Wade sits, Barnes could be the thrasher. If he plays with LeBron, he could be more of a perimeter playmaker. He could even mix in with Wade, Allen, and Battier if LeBron sits. Granted, there is a bit of risk involved here on the part of Miami but Barnes’ trajectory will be vastly different if he is put in the right situation. With the rise of Draymond Green in Golden State and the acquisition of Andre Iguodala, it became a clustered position for a stretch-four still learning the game. But at age 21, Barnes would benefit from playing with the role that Miami could offer.
This trade would be a blockbuster that works for everybody involved if Bosh feels his time in Miami has come to a close.Follow @ElijahAbramson