Warriors send Ellis to Bucks for injured center Bogut
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks have agreed in principle to to a deal that will send center Andrew Bogut and small forward Stephen Jackson to the Warriors for shooting guard Monta Ellis, forward Ekpe Udoh and center Kwame Brown to the Bucks, sources confirmed to SI.com.
The deal lands the Warriors the sort of big man they've coveted for so long in Bogut, who is owed a combined $27 million in the next two seasons. But there is significant risk involved considering the health history of the former No. 1 pick.
He fractured his left ankle on Jan. 25 and might not return this season after averaging just 66 games played in his first six seasons. Jackson, who is owed approximately $10 million in the final season of his deal in 2012-13, is back in Golden State, where he spent two-plus seasons before he was traded to the Bobcats in 2009.
The Bucks now have another dynamic scorer to pair with third-year point guard Brandon Jennings, who sources say was being discussed as a possible trade option before this deal went down. Yet while a source said the Bucks had strongly considered a deal for Jennings in recent days, his representatives have since been told he won't be traded and the plan is to pair him with Ellis. They are currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference at 18-24.
Ellis is among the most underrated players in the league, having averaged 19.6 points per game in his six seasons. He's currently having one of his best campaigns, averaging 21.9 points and a career-high six assists per game.
"It is what it is, man," Ellis said at Power Balance Pavilion before his former team was to face the Kings. "I had some great years here, and I had some bad ones. Thankfully I had the opportunity to do what I did for seven years here. I started my career here, but they're going in another direction. They were good to me here."
The scene at Power Balance Pavilion was surreal for the Warriors, as team officials had not yet shared the news and everyone from coach Mark Jackson to Udoh was told of the deal either by media members or from the SportsCenter news that ran on the locker room television. Ellis said he found out from the TV. Jackson was told by media, then left to sit alone near the court while his players warmed up. Point guard Stephen Curry sat quietly at his locker looking stunned, then declined to comment. Small forward Dorell Wright opted not to talk as well.
"I talked to guys," Ellis said. "Everybody is upset, but this is what happens. This is part of the league. I wish them the best. Now, I'm going to go help the Bucks win.
"I kind of figured that something bad was going to happen today. I was prepared for it. I'm good."
Ever since buying the Warriors in November 2010, co-owner Joe Lacob has vowed to take calculated risks to revamp the team that had been in the playoffs just once in the last 17 seasons. In Bogut, he gets a center that -- when healthy -- he considers the third best in the league and one who fits wonderfully with forward David Lee. And while the Warriors entered Tuesday night just three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, Lacob said the chance to get a more balanced roster while planning for a championship push years down the road was the priority.
The irony now, of course, is that the Warriors have much to gain should they falter down the stretch. Unless they finish the season with one of the seven worst records in the league, then their 2012 first-round pick belongs to Utah. Golden State entered Tuesday night with the 11th worst record in the league.
Jackson arrives in Golden State with some risk, as well. He has been vocal about his desire for an extension and the Warriors, who in 2008 gave him the deal he's currently playing on, will certainly not be doing that a second time.
The Warriors' willingness to give up Ellis reflects well on Klay Thompson, but the rookie guard wasn't focusing on that factor as he comprehended the news on Tuesday night. As he watched SportsCenter, he heard the announcer say, "And Monta Ellis goes to Milwaukee ..." before responding.
"Wow, that's unbelievable," Thompson said. "That's crazy. I'm just in a state of shock right now. I don't know what to think. I mean it's a business, but to find out on television is stupid. Wow. That's unbelievable ... I just feel for these guys. To find out that way is real tough, man."