Cons of an Ellis-Iguodala Trade


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.