Friday , Jun , 29 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Breaking Down Rumors: Jason Richardson Trade Part of Golden State Warriors’ Plan To Acquire Kevin Garnett?

Draft night had one major surprise: Golden State shipping J-Richardson off to Charlotte for Brandan Wright … But was this move part of the Warriors’ plan to land a big ticket item from Minnesota? … Click here for news and analysis …

My Quick Take: My friends and I had gathered to watch the NBA Draft. Actually, they got to watch. I had to work-if you can call writing about the NBA work!

The draft was going as planned. was off to Portland. was off to Seattle. And nobody was too surprised when Ray Allen switched coasts, trading the green of the Seattle Sonics for the green of the Boston Celtics. This rumor had been everywhere for a couple of days.

However, silence fell over the room when word broke that the had traded to the for prospect Brandan Wright.  

This was unexpected. J-Rich, despite a serious injury, had emerged as a key member of the ‘We Believe’ cult. After their memorable post-season, I thought he had found a permanent home next to .

And the thrifty Bobcats seemed like an odd home for Richardson. After all, this team spends money like, well, they don’t spend money. Until now. Charlotte, in desperate need of a primary scorer, acquired the former dunk champ and agreed to pay the remaining four years of his 51 million dollar contract.

Still, I couldn’t figure out Golden State’s angle. Why trade a proven scorer for a prospect? Then it became clear. Rumor has it the Warriors want to take a run at . The Los Angeles Times was all over this story:

 Whether it was part of a deal the Warriors are working on with Minnesota or not, they traded guard Jason Richardson to Charlotte for North Carolina‘s Brandan Wright, a promising young big man whom the Bobcats drafted at No. 8.

The Warriors may now offer Wright with center Andris Biedrins and guard Monta Ellis and enough salary to make the deal work to Minnesota for Garnett.

This makes sense. Trading for The Big Ticket is complicated. Matching up the salaries and straightening out the money would be trickier than keeping track of all the European prospects in last night’s draft. Steve Kerr, Phoenix’s new GM, mentioned how tough a K.G. deal would be to pull off.

"The Garnett thing is just really … so difficult to even fathom because of those financial implications," Kerr explained.

Any team hoping to acquire Garnett has to stockpile flexible assets. And that’s what Wright is -a desirable asset who gives Golden State some flexibility.

After some reflection, I also determined the world won’t end if the Warriors can’t land Garnett. Yes, Richardson can play, but is a nice fill-in.  And in today’s NBA, where the salary cap is so important, a prospect is cheaper than a replaceable guard whose owed 51 million dollars.

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