The long, windy, desolate road of Golden State incompetence is known. Frankly, it’s depressing. Fans are more than aware of the miscues and critics have no shortage of words for how awful these decisions were. Drafts, trades, firings and hirings: the Warriors have had it all. But, despite all the mistakes multiple owners, general managers, coaches and players have made, there actually have been some fantastic moves hiding under those dark clouds. Whether it was smarts, creativity or just plain luck, the Warriors have had a slew of positive gains throughout the years. This list consists of the trades that either changed the culture, brought exciting moments for the Bay Area or simply brought about wins in what was an otherwise hopeless place.
Here are the Top-5 trades in franchise history:
5. July 10, 2013: Warriors acquire Andre Iguodala (via Denver), Kevin Murphy (via Utah) for Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, multiple draft picks and cash
This one was surprising. The Warriors wanted desperately to shed the atrocious contracts of both Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, and many thought it was an impossible task to do so. But, the Utah Jazz managed to pull off the impossible and actually accept both deals in exchange for a multitude of draft picks and future cap relief. The Warriors ended up with Andre Iguodala, who is coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection.
Iguodala has proven to be a defensive force — albeit with some injury concerns — and has helped Curry with his ability to run an offense and occasional spot-up shooting. But, despite his contributions, the greatest feat in this trade is still the fact Bob Myers managed to shed both Biedrins and Jefferson not just in the same offseason, but in the same deal. This trade — along with Joe Johnson and Gilbert Arenas — are living proof that any deal can be traded.
This was a heist not just because of the acquisition of Iguodala but because Myers worked to find and one suitor for two players that had zero future with the team. Bob Myers is here to stay, and this deal helped many come to terms with that reality.
4. June 30, 1993: Warriors acquire Chris Webber from the Orlando Magic for Anfernee Hardaway and three first-round picks
What could’ve been?
Imagine a frontline of Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Webber, possibly giving the league the best frontline in its history. Alas, the Warriors had to ruin those plans and instead acquire Chris Webber for Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and three first-round picks. This trade might not seem to benefit the Warriors and probably should have no place on this list considering how quickly the relationship ended, but I beg to differ.
The trade was a fantastic one from the Warriors perspective: acquiring a household name from a major university with all the potential in the world. This player ended up living up to all the hype, albeit with another franchise. But, I don’t put this one on ownership, management or even other players. Don Nelson’s fallout with Webber is what ultimately caused his disgust with the franchise to the point of requesting a trade. It was a player-coach breakup, a maligned connection that could never reconcile.
The Webber, Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, Latrell Sprewell and Billy Owens lineup was filthy. It stayed “on paper” as injuries caused this team to never reach its full potential. Regardless, acquiring Webber remains a positive for the franchise given the aggressiveness shown from ownership, and barring an arrogant coach and immature player, the tandem should’ve been suited for basketball porn.
We’ll never know, but at least we had Webber’s return in 2008, right?
3. March 13, 2012: Warriors acquire Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Kwame Brown, Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh
The jury is still out on this trade, but it’s one of the rare trades that have benefited both teams. The Bucks still stink, and while they have some nice pieces in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, they also have OJ Mayo and Jason Kidd, the snake of the NBA this off-season. None of them have anything to do with Monta Ellis, who the Bucks let walk two seasons ago for Dallas. Ekpe Udoh is now a free agent and likely out while Kwame Brown is enjoying his $64 million in career earnings.
Meanwhile, the Warriors finally acquired a franchise center, a former #1 overall pick with stout defense and a knack for buckets inside. Of course, as it seems there are with every Warriors trade, there’s some sort of caveat. Bogut, whether he admits it or not, is injury-prone. His injuries might be odd, unlikely to happen again or just happenstance, but they’re still injuries. He didn’t play in the games immediately following the trade and still hasn’t eclipsed the 100 games played mark with his new team (99).
But, when he does play, he’s a force. He carried a defensive rating of 96.3 last season, which only trailed Joakim Noah (95.8). He sets great screens, rebounds, contests and provides the team with an interior presence it hasn’t had at the position in years. The key is keeping him healthy, and just as the Warriors were ready to enter their second consecutive playoff series with the rival Los Angeles Clippers — a series that pundits and fans were hoping for all season — what happens? The Aussie gets hurt in the 78th game of the season against the Denver Nuggets and ends his season against the Portland Trail Blazers with :24 seconds left in regulation.
The trade has been a success. The team signed Bogut to a three-year, $36 million extension that will see him getting paid through the 2016-17 season. It was a risky move at the time and seems even riskier (even precarious) now seeing the injuries haven’t stopped. Still, last season’s time out were amplified by the injury to Festus Ezeli, who is a more than adequate backup. The team sorely missed Bogut against the Clippers, as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan got whatever they wanted inside. This trade, for all the danger involved, is still one of the best trades in the history of the franchise. It marked a new era, the christening of new owner Joe Lacob (and the subsequence boos) and the first hint of basketball wit in quite some time.
The Andrew Bogut story is far from finished, and #IfHealthy — and some help from a particular stretch-4 — we’ve only seen the beginning of his contributions to this potential deef playoff team.
2. January 17, 2007: Warriors acquire Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Ike Diogu, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Keith McLeod and Troy Murphy
The Warriors could’ve received a bucket of popcorn, a half eaten hot dog and a bitter cup of soda and I’d still say this trade was a win. “Addition by subtraction” couldn’t be a better description for this trade, but Chris Mullin managed to pull off a heist and received troubled forward Stephen Jackson and former Warriors free agent target Al Harrington in a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline. In the process, two of the most maligned players in franchise history were shipped off to Indiana, and the entire #DubNation screamed “Good riddance!” as they left.
Mike Dunleavy Jr and Troy Murphy represented years of ineptitude with regards to scouting, drafting, player development and aloofness in the front office. They’re departure marked a clean slate, a fresh roster with added talent that completely differed from the exhausting “skills” of both Dunleavy and Murphy. Jackson never got back on track after the Malace at the Palace, and the Pacers immediately regretted their deal with Harrington. In came the Warriors to trade their scraps for the Pacers’, and that’s all it took.
We know what happened following: “We Believe” was born soon after, providing the Bay Area with its most exciting basketball memory since 1975. Baron Davis dunked, Jackson splashed, Harrington wasn’t Murphy and Nellie laid his gut on the line in one the funnest playoff series the league has ever seen. The Bay Area basketball scene was rejuvenated with fresh energy despite the same troubled ownership, which came around to once again bite the team once the Jackson and Harrington era’s ended.
Regardless, the trade was a net success just given what happened in the 2007 playoffs. Everyone remembers where they were for Game 1 against the Mavericks, the closeout game at Oracle Arena, Dirk Nowitzki kicking the chair on his way towards the locker room and Baron’s dunk. This wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t it been without their dump at the deadline. Fun times for everyone involved immediately after the deal, even funner times once the playoffs began.
“We Believe” forever.
1. February 24, 2005: Warriors acquire Baron Davis from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Speedy Claxton, Dale Davis and cash
The greatest heist in Warriors history.
Speedy Claxton, Dale Davis, some cash for the rights to two-time All-Star Baron Davis. Davis was nursing injuries at the time of the trade, having only played 18 games that season and carrying the all-too-familiar tag of “injury prone” at the ripe age of 25. The risks were evident, but the rewards weren’t. It wasn’t until the following season where Davis showed his true skills once the team acquired sufficient talent around him.
Davis’ 227 games with the Warriors will live in franchise lore. He was fun, from California and helped spark the short-lived renaissance known as the “We Believe” movement. He was 25, but an older 25 given his injury history. He averaged 20.1 PPG, 8.1 APG on 52% true shooting in 4 seasons with the team. He skipped around down the sidelines, hit game-winners, dunked over Russians and was an actual, bulky point-guard that carried a physical force with a certain elegance as well.
The marriage ended on a sour note, as Davis accepted a lucrative offer from the Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors continued to offer Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand max contracts. It turned out in the Warriors favor as Davis’ age caught up to him quickly. He’s on the pantheon of greatest Warriors ever due to his heart, production and memories he brought fans and pundits alike during his four seasons. Merely scraps turned into an unforgettable run forever engraved in everyone’s hearts. Baron Davis’ legacy can’t be overstated.
He was that good.