Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 3/13/12

In a trade that strikes me as a big surprise, Monta Ellis will be sent to Milwaukee in exchange for Andrew Bogut.  Stephen Jackson, who quickly fell out of favor with Bucks coach Scott Skiles, is also headed (back) to Golden State, and big men Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown will be on their way to Wisconsin.  Monta has been involved in various trade rumors recently, but none of them had him landing in Milwaukee.  There were rumblings about a potential Andrew Bogut deal, but nothing seemed imminent.  Like I said, I’m a bit surprised.  Via Yahoo! Sports…

The Golden State Warriors have agreed in principle to trade guard Monta Ellis and two players to the Milwaukee Bucks for center Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Warriors will send forward Ekpe Udoh and injured center Kwame Brown to the Bucks as part of a package for Bogut, one of the NBA’s most talented – but also often-injured – centers. The deal will be officially completed later on Tuesday night, one executive involved in the trade said.

My initial reaction?  I like Milwaukee’s side of the deal.  Although good centers are hard to come by–and make no mistake about it, Andrew Bogut is one of the best in the league, especially on the defensive end–he’s played 70 games or more only twice in his career, which began in 2005.  His offensive game hasn’t been the same since the elbow injury he suffered a few years ago, and he’s out right now with a fractured ankle.  While you could argue that Monta Ellis has only reached 70 games three times, he hasn’t been riddled by various injuries like Bogut has… he just made a poor decision and busted up his ankle riding a scooter.  Certain seven footers simply seem to be fragile, and Bogut has been one of those guys.  Ellis has been reasonably durable.

So, I think it’s clear that Golden State is taking the bigger risk here, trading an All-Star-level shooting guard for a guy who hasn’t had a healthy season since ’07/08.  However, the risk comes with a high reward.  Like I said, Bogut is one of the best bigs in the game when he’s actually on the floor.  The Dubs haven’t had a defensive presence like him since… before my time.  To pair him with David Lee is to create one of the league’s premier four-five tandems.  Assuming he’ll cooperate, Stephen Jackson is a good (albeit temporary) fit at shooting guard alongside Stephen Curry.  He’s brings size and defense that Monta never did, and it’s being reported that he won’t be bought out.  You may recall that Stack asked out of Golden State back in ’09, but the entire organization, from the coaching staff to the ownership, has changed since then. As for the loss of Ekpe Udoh, a second-year big man… I’m not high on him at all.  He’s simply not that good and not that young.

From a Warrior perspective this is certainly a high-risk high-reward deal.  It’ll be easy to applaud it or condemn it in two or three years, but it’s tough to do either one right now.  Getting back to the Bucks side of things, like I said, I like the deal.  Stephen Jackson’s salary is off of their books now with Kwame Brown’s $7 million expirer coming in.  Although I don’t like Ekpe Udoh, I’ve been wrong before.  Monta Ellis is 9th in the entire f@cking league in scoring, and he’s 17th in assists.  In contrast to Brandon Jennings, who’s become quite the player himself, he’s one of the best finishers at the rim amongst guards.  It’s true that both of those guys like to have the ball in their hands, and chemistry is certainly a concern… but Monta and Steph Curry worked well together on the offensive end and I think Monta and Brandon Jennings can too.  One thing’s for sure; you certainly can’t argue against Monta’s talent.  Even if Milwaukee’s new backcourt looks better on paper than it ever does on the floor at least they got an extremely talented player who’s yet to reach the prime of his career.

I’m not big into making predictions, but I think the Knicks can kiss that 8th spot goodbye.  Milwaukee’s suddenly got a lot of firepower, and Scott Skiles knows how to make a team bend their knees and play defense.  I think Monta will come in with a good attitude as he’s joining a team in the midst of a playoff push.

Oh, and the Warriors should just re-assemble the entire ’07 roster.  I still believe!

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