Warriors make a major change, but will it be progress? 

click to enlarge The Warriors traded for Bucks center Andrew Bogut, but whether it works out in the long run remains to be seen. - US PRESSWIRE FILE PHOTO
  • US Presswire file photo
  • The Warriors traded for Bucks center Andrew Bogut, but whether it works out in the long run remains to be seen.

So, isn’t that a heck of a deal for the Warriors, trading one of the NBA’s best scorers, Monta Ellis, to Milwaukee for a tall Australian with a broken ankle?   But hey, it proves the front office is willing to make moves, and didn’t Dante say something like, in times of moral crisis, the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who stand around using a zone defense?

The suspicion is the W’s could suit up five guys from Mosswood Park in Oakland and still sell out Oracle Arena, as they did Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics — Monta or no Monta, and certainly no Andrew Bogut, the Aussie with the ankle.

Warriors fans either are the most loyal or most naïve in creation, filling seats season after season for a team which, guessing now, particularly after the Tuesday transactions, will miss the playoffs a 17th time in 18 years.

Something was coming, and (sigh) it wasn’t a trade for Dwight Howard. Someone was going, and the designated departee — as rumored, suggested and then proved — was the man of a thousand tattoos (and almost as many points), Mr. Ellis.

A guard was the pawn, and it wasn’t going to be Stephen Curry, although Curry, who has ankle problems, if not quite as severe as the 7-foot Bogut, may be held out the rest of this truncated 2011-12 season.

Thus, Monta, seemingly minutes after he was named NBA Player of the Week, defensive ace Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown (he’s out with a torn pectoral) were sent to the Bucks in exchange for Bogut and the fabulous (or is that fatuous) Stephen Jackson, back for a second act.

It would make sense — Bogut has been rated either the second- or third-best center in the league — if he didn’t have a history of injuries. The broken ankle came in January, after a mere 12 games. A fall near the end of the 2010-11 season necessitated surgery on his right hand and elbow. More elbow surgery was required in April 2011.

When Joe Lacob, the Silicon Valley whiz, and partner Peter Guber, of Hollywood, bought the Warriors a couple of years ago, they promised change. This is change. Is it progress? Check back in a couple of years.

From the start, the Warriors have been climbing uphill, and before the Celtics game were 18-21. A flurry of wins would get them to the postseason, but now they’re more likely to get a flurry of losses.

If that enables them to receive one of the top seven picks in this summer’s draft, wonderful. Because then they get to keep their draft selection. If they draft eighth through (ha-ha) 30th, they lose the pick.

Monta was the Warriors’ should-have-been All-Star, someone capable of tossing in 48 points, that only a month ago, but also capable of making management wish to toss him from a window. He wanted out, according to his agent. And he’s out.

If Bogut could get on the court in the month the season has left, the Warriors might find out what they gained. They know what they lost. Just to remind them, Monta, new Buck, old Warrior, will be facing them Friday night. Ain’t life full of surprises?

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. Email him at typoes@aol.com.

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Art Spander

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