Cons of an Ellis-Iguodala Trade

Even Monta Ellis doesn't understand this deal.

Well, this broke not too long ago. Ric Bucher, who I’d imagine has a few sources in the Golden State organization, has this to say:

The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers have discussed a trade that would send the Warriors’ leading scorer, Monta Ellis, to the 76ers for Andre Iguodala, according to league sources, including one with direct knowledge of Golden State’s thinking.

One source stressed that completion of the deal is not imminent but that it has merits for both sides.

I’m not shocked that this has been addressed by both sides – the Sixers had the lowest scoring leading scorer in the NBA last year, while the Warriors are desperate to improve defensively. But this deal, as it stands, has a lot of problems, and most are from our side.

First, the Sixers would not get major cap relief from this deal. For me, unless you strike gold with an impossible-to-refuse deal, the Sixers should be looking to cut salary in an Iguodala deal. That is, if you ARE going to trade him, you might as well do it to free up some salary. Ellis’ deal runs the same length as Iguodala’s, with three years left at a slightly smaller annual salary.

Second, the risk is greater with Ellis’ deal than Iguodala’s. While Andre missed 17 games this season due to injuries, he had previously played in 80 games in 5 of his previous 6 seasons, with 76 in the other. He will play and, at age 27, likely still has 3 good years left in him to live out the contract. Meanwhile, Ellis has played 80 games twice in 5 seasons that he’s earned consistent playing time. During the summer that he signed his current deal, a 6-year, $66 million extension, he injured himself in a motorcycle accident and hid the nature of the injury from the team. Thus, I believe we can safely say that Ellis is a riskier investment, though you could ague otherwise with his league-leading minutes played last year. Though we can talk about what’s wrong with this later.

Third, I’m not all that sure that Ellis and Iguodala are similarly valued players. While Iguodala isn’t a great shooter by any measure, Ellis recently hasn’t been much better. Over the last 3 seasons, Ellis has shot 45% from the floor (following up a 53% campaign) and 34% from behind the three-point line. During this same time period, Iguodala shot a slightly better than 45% from the floor and under 32% from behind the line. Which goes to show that, despite scoring 20-plus PPG in 3 of the last 4 years, Ellis is not an efficient scorer. In fact, he’s really just a slightly better version of Lou Williams who takes a ton more shots and gets to the free-throw line less often. And the offense isn’t the only similarity between the two. Ellis avoids defense like the plague. Oh, and despite being a shooting guard, he’s 6-3 and cannot guard most other shooting guards because of his height. Iguodala, meanwhile, is an all-NBA caliber defender at either swing-man position. He rebounds well and finished 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio this past year. In other words, Andre is clearly a better player.

Fourth, I’m not sure Ellis fits well with the current Sixers roster. While Iguodala is far from that perfect fit with the “future” of the team, Ellis pushes Turner to becoming an undersized small forward and forces Holiday to guard shooting guards. In fact, with this set-up 3/5 of our projected lineup will be undersized relative to the league defensively (Holiday or Ellis, Turner, and Brand). Holiday, at least currently, requires another playmaker to be effective, and Ellis is a play-taker. Turner hasn’t lived up to his rep from college as a playmaker so far, while Brand still works as a black hole in the post. Ellis makes Lou Williams redundant – we would almost be forced to trade him in this circumstance. And we won’t receive our biggest need in a straight-up deal: a big to build around.

Ellis fills a specific hole, if you consider him a truly good scorer. But he creates more holes than he fills, and doesn’t address the major hole on the roster. Adding his contract in place of Iguodala’s doesn’t solve that issue, either.

While I cannot dismiss a trade (adding Ekpe Udoh in such a deal, as Liberty Ballers suggested, would be nice), the current report just is not a good deal for the Sixers.

Tags: Andre Iguodala Monta Ellis Trades

  • Jim

    You are selling Monta Ellis WAY short:

    First, Ellis is a 25 point per game scorer in this league for several years. He would bring a major infusion of offense to a team starving for a big time scorer. It is crazy to say he is a slightly better version of Lou Williams! Are you serious?

    Second, as far as injuries there is no advantage to Andre Iguadola as we saw this past year with his games missed or playing games hurt.

    Third. trading Iguadola not only opens the three spot for Evan Turner but also Thad Young. Let them both compete for that job. If there is a long three we are defending Thad would be the guy. If it is a smaller three Evan is the guy.

    Fourth , Ellis is a perfect mix with a tall point guard in Jrue Holliday. The problem in Golden State is having two small guards in Ellis and Steph Curry.

    Fifth, Ellis is the best player on the Warriors last year, not Curry. Warriors fans don’t want him traded and will have to be sold on Iguadola.

    Last, we are not doing Iguadola for a salary dump so get that out of your head. Brands contract is for 2 more years before you could get significant cap relief. Do you think a coach like Doug Collins wants to blow up the team and have a lousy record for the next two years to create cap relief?

    Fourth, Ellis is a

    • Sean O`Connor

      Ellis scores 25 points by playing 40-plus minutes and taking way too many shots for his team’s own good. His points per minute equal Lou’s, and Lou had a very slight edge in PER and True Shooting Percentage this past year over Ellis. In other words, they are indeed very similar. Neither is a great, efficient scorer.

      Also, check this article out on the potential deal, from a Golden State perspective:

      Obviously, Golden State fans have soured on Ellis.

      As for your other points:

      - via Jordan Sams of Liberty Ballers’ twitter account (via John Hollinger), Golden State was 11.4 better per 100 possessions without Ellis on the court compared to when he played. His team played substantially better without him playing, despite scoring 25 points per game.

      - Thad Young played 95% of his minutes as a 4 this year and I don’t expect him to move back to the perimeter. He has played substantially better as an undersized 4 than as a 3. He especially struggled defensively while guarding opponents on the perimeter and with rotations to open shooters.

      - Jrue Holiday is 6-3, which is good size for a point guard but not nearly tall enough to guard many other players. Many shooting guards stand 6-6 or taller.

      - On the injury front, Iguodala suffered one injury this year. Ellis has suffered multiple injuries in the past which kept him out of action for extended periods of time. You cannot ignore that.

      While Ellis would be a scorer that would appeal to the Sixers due to their lack of having one, we could play Lou more minutes and get a similar result. Except we would also have Iguodala.

  • MTW6

    “he’s really just a slightly better version of Lou Williams”

    yeah, i’d say you’re selling him short. what i like is that trading Iggy allows Holiday to become the full-time ball in his hands playmaker for the offense. as good as Iggy is i feel like running the O through him just slows Holiday’s development.

    obviously though, as stated, the defense would be an issue w the lack of any size in the backcourt

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  • Bro Cheeks

    I disagree, I like this trade for the Sixers. We need more perimeter scoring and more clutch scoring which Monta has at an elite level. And he can play at the 2 guard position which is more natural for him anyway, while he doesn’t have the size, he certainly has the mentality. And he’s not a slouch as a playmaker either, he averaged over 5 assists last season. And with him at the two, Lou can come off the bench at the point or the off guard, which is the best place for him to be. And now, there is no need for Evan Turner, who to be honest, hasn’t shown me much thus far. We can look at trading him for a young, decent, center. And without Andre, we can give Thad minutes at the small forward position he deserves and he can capitalize on all the potential he’s been showing lately. Make the trade.