2 Years Later: The Indiana-Golden State Trade

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» Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:50 pm
2 Years Later: The Indiana-Golden State Trade

Authored by Andrew Perna - January 15, 2009 - 7:51 pm

It might feel like longer, but exactly two years ago Saturday, on Jan. 17, 2007, the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors pulled the trigger on a massive eight-player trade.

In case you forgot, the Warriors sent Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod to the Pacers in exchange for Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.

Two seasons later only three of the eight players involved are still with the team that acquired them -- Dunleavy and Murphy in Indiana, and Jackson in Golden State. A pair -- McLeod and Jasikevicius -- haven't even appeared in an NBA game since the 2006-07 season.

Analyzing a trade of this magnitude is rather difficult. So many other dynamics come into play that it's wrong to base the outcome of such a deal solely on the post-trade record of each team.

Golden State went 23-20 after the trade that season, and has a combined mark of 82-83 since the morning of Jan. 17, 2007. But the loss of Baron Davis via free agency, the ankle injury to Monta Ellis, and the trade that sent Jason Richardson to Charlotte for Brandan Wright all played huge roles in the team's record, especially this season's 11-29 run.

Indiana went 15-29 in the second half of the 2007 season, and has struggled through a record of 65-100 since pulling the trigger on the deal. However, since the trade a number of other significant things have occurred within the Pacers' organization, including a coaching and front office change, another blockbuster trade involving Jermaine O'Neal, countless injuries and the on-going Jamaal Tinsley saga.

At the time, the Pacers were looking to clear out some locker room issues by dealing both Jackson and Harrington, while the Warriors were looking to deal Dunleavy, who had underperformed as a former top-five pick.

Since then, Dunleavy has blossomed in Indiana and Jackson has risen to the role of captain with Golden State.

Let's take a look at this deal player-by-player and try to determine who has benefited most from the trade twenty-four months later.

Mike Dunleavy – From GSW to IND

Dunleavy's play immediately picked up following the trade (14.0 pts and 4.7 rbds from 11.4 pts and 3.8 rbds), and has remained significantly better in Indiana than it was in Golden State. He's averaging 17.3 points with the Pacers, after a 10.6 points per game mark in four-plus seasons with the Warriors.

He has also set career-highs in games started, minutes per game, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, and assists in his short time with Indiana. Dunleavy just made his season debut last week because of knee issues, but he's still been more productive for the Pacers than anyone imagined.

Advantage: Indiana

Troy Murphy – From GSW to IND

Murphy averaged a double-double in three of his five full seasons with the Warriors, and although it took more than nineteen months and some healing, he's finally returned to form in Indiana this season. He has averages of 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds with the Pacers, similar to the 11.1 points and 8.2 boards he put up for the Warriors.

He still misses games here-and-here just as he has throughout his entire career, but this season's numbers indicate that the Notre Dame alum is finally comfortable back in the heartland. Murphy has also helped improve Indiana's locker room chemistry drastically. He's posting 12.1 points and a career-high 11.2 rebounds in 2008-09.

Advantage: Push

Ike Diogu – From GSW to IND to POR

This is a complex one. Diogu was considered by many to be the "centerpiece" of the trade, with then-general manager Donnie Walsh comparing the acquisition of the reserve forward to the Jermaine O'Neal trade with Portland in the summer of 2000. Diogu never worked out in Indiana, for a variety of reasons from injury to coaching preferences, and he was traded in a package to Portland (irony there?) on the night of this past draft.

The Pacers landed the rights to rookie Brandon Rush, guard Jarrett Jack and forward Josh McRoberts from the Blazers for Diogu and the rights to rookie Jerryd Bayless. It's too early to say who will win the rookie aspect of the deal, but Indiana was able to unload Diogu for a much-needed presence at point guard.

McRoberts played well when called upon during a rash of the flu in mid-December, but he's has been asked to do less than Diogu was in Indy. Meanwhile, with the glut of bigs in Portland, Ike is rarely seeing action on his third NBA team. Even had the Pacers landed only Jack in this trade they would have won the deal, he's been invaluable with T.J. Ford battling his customary injuries.

Advantage: Indiana

Keith McLeod – From GSW to IND to DAL to FA

McLeod's presence has really no bearing on the outcome of the deal. After his 22-game stint with Indiana following the trade, he was signed by the Mavericks but has yet to appear in an NBA game since the end of the 2006-07 season.

Advantage: Push

Stephen Jackson – From IND to GSW

Jackson has gone from potent scorer and team cancer to an all-around offensive presence and a team captain in two quick years. No one benefited from this trade more than Jackson, who needed some fresh scenery and unlike so many athletes that covet or receive new starts, he actually took the ball and ran with it. Like Dunleavy, his numbers jumped immediately after the trade (16.8 pts, 4.6 asts, and 3.3 rbds up from 14.1 pts, 3.1 rbds and 2.6 asts) and his numbers have remained high.

He has been hampered by a hamstring injury as of late, but he's still averaging a career-high 6.0 assists per game and flirting with highs in points (19.0) and rebounds (4.5 rebounds). His shooting, however, has been subpar at times.

Advantage: Golden State

Al Harrington – From IND to GSW to NYK

Harrington's second tenure in Indiana was a flop, as was his first run with Golden State. His numbers spiked right after the deal, but plummeted in 2007-08 and at the beginning of this season due to an apparent clash with coach Don Nelson. Overall, Harrington was more productive with the Pacers than Warriors, but he didn't last long with either team.

Golden State shipped Harrington to New York for guard Jamal Crawford back in November. He has thrived in Mike D'Antoni's system and is averaging a career-high 21.5 points and 18.1 shot attempts to go along with 6.3 rebounds per contest. Crawford has been good for the Warriors, even hitting a game-winning shot against Indiana this month, with 20.0 points, 4.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 25 games.

If you reason that Harrington was paired with Murphy in the initial trade, then you could conceivably say that it has progressed to Crawford-for-Murphy. The Warriors might have a few more losses without Crawford's scoring since the recent mid-November deal, but with a glut of guards and swingmen on their roster, an interior presence might better suit them.

Advantage: Indiana, or even New York...

Josh Powell – From IND to GSW to LAC to LAL

Powell didn't have a significant role in either Indiana or Golden State, and the Warriors withdrew a qualifying offer to the forward in July of 2007 that allowed him to sign with the Clippers. After he was waived this past summer, the Lakers picked him up. His numbers with both L.A. teams have been the best of his career.

Advantage: Push

Sarunas Jasikevicius

Like McLeod, he's yet to play in the NBA since the 2006-07 season. After his five-month stay with Golden State, where he rarely played down the stretch, he picked up the 2007-08 player option on his contract in an attempt to keep his NBA career alive. All that did was bank him some extra cash, as the Warriors placed him on waivers prior to that season.

Advantage: Push

After assessing this trade player-by-player the scale appears to tilt in the direction of the Pacers, but when looking at team dynamics that isn't entirely the case. The swap allowed Golden State to set their roster up for their Cinderella playoff run in 2007, their first appearance since 1994, and Jackson's play allowed them to shock top-seeded Dallas in the first round.

Meanwhile, Indiana still has yet to make the postseason since the deal because of a variety of factors. Also, the team's records since the deal need further inspection. The Pacers have been every bit as bad as their 65-100 mark, but the Warriors were 71-54 after the trade until this season, which has been marred by the injury to moped-riding guard Monta Ellis.

If Golden State pulled the trigger for the short term, and Indiana agreed on it to get fresh blood and rid themselves of some personalities, then two years down the road it appears to have been a pretty even swap.

Andrew Perna is Deputy Editor of RealGM.com and co-host of RealGM’s Radio Show

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