Both the Pacers and Warriors are stuck in salary-cap hell, and with each club struggling to find any consistency this season, a major shakeup was in order. The results for each side will be determined as the season plays out, of course, but initially, it looks as though each team has accomplished something significant.
For the Warriors, the deal relieves some of the financial burden they were facing in the future. They unloaded two underachieving players – Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy – whose bloated contracts were looming over the franchise. Each has four years (after this one) remaining on his deal, with Murphy owed around $45 million and Dunleavy about $38 million.
The contracts Golden State gets in return are more manageable. Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson have three years left on their respective deals (Harrington makes about $9 million per and Jackson $7 million), while Sarunas Jasikevicius is owed $4 million for one more season.
The Pacers were willing to take on the extra money in order to unload Jackson, who has done major harm to the franchise's image the past few seasons. They are hoping to begin a new era where they can once again capture the fans of Indiana, as they did during the Reggie Miller/Mark Jackson/Rik Smits era. Unloading Jackson was the second step in the process (following the Ron Artest trade last season). Now two of the major parties from the Auburn Hills brawl are gone.
Basketball-wise, the Warriors are happy to get Harrington, whom they pursued last summer as a free agent. He is the type of versatile big forward that Don Nelson loves, and he'll fit into Golden State's fast-paced game. Jackson, for all his warts, can be a very good player and may thrive in his new surroundings. On the other hand, if he doesn't get the playing time he wants, his unhappiness won't help much for Nelson.
The sleeper in the deal may be Jasikevicius, who has been a standout on the Lithuanian national team, which incidentally is coached by Nelson's son, Donnie. Needless to say, Don Sr. is well-acquainted with Jasikevicius' game. He's a hard nosed, sweet shooting point guard who should slide behind Baron Davis into the Warrior rotation.
The Pacers are banking on Dunleavy blossoming with the change of scenery, which he will undoubtedly embrace. The No. 3 overall pick in 2002 has been booed unmercifully in Oakland and criticized publicly by Nelson, so this is the best thing for him.
Murphy, who was made expendable by the terrific play of Andres Biedrins, can be an effective, floor-spreading big man who could complement Jermaine O'Neal well, but he must get healthy. Murphy has been bothered by a balky knee all season.
The sleeper on the Indiana side may be Ike Diogu. Larry Bird has liked Diogu – who was sitting on the Golden State bench – for a long time, and he'll get his chance to play for Rick Carlisle.
Will the trade make a significant impact on either team's fortunes this season? Probably not. The Warriors will still have a terribly difficult time making the playoffs in the West, while the Pacers will have some major adjustments to make incorporating their new players. Chances are, neither team is going to improve dramatically. But at least they're trying to do so.