Programming note: Coverage of Warriors-Suns begins at 7:00 on CSN Bay Area, followed by NBA basketball, and Warriors Postgame Live immediately following the final buzzer.
The NBA trade deadline is just a day away, and as you would figure there is a lot of stuff going on out there.
Not very much has to do with the Warriors though.
Sure, the Warriors might be linked right now to Hornets guard Eric Gordon, Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick or the continually available Josh Smith.
But don’t look for anything that significant to happen. The reason is simple: The primary goal for the Warriors right now is to make the playoffs this season, and they’re not going to jeopardize that with a deal that will impact their chemistry or core.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers have pretty much made that clear in recent days – that they feel like this team needs more time to be assessed.
That sentiment seems sound. Right now, the Warriors are in a virtual tie for the sixth spot in the Western Conference, but they are comfortably ahead of both Portland and the L.A. Lakers in the standings.
Those are the two teams Golden State will have to stay ahead of to secure a playoff berth. The Warriors are struggling right now – having lost six in a row – but their schedule remains extremely favorable the last six weeks of the season.
If the Warriors do make a deal before Thursday’s deadline, it will likely be a minor move and one specifically designed for the franchise to get below the luxury tax threshold.
The luxury tax is set at $70.3 million, and right now the Warriors are approximately $1.2 million above that line.
There are several ways the Warriors could get under that, and perhaps the most likely way would be to find a trade for two of the following three players: Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Tyler or Kent Bazemore.
Of those three, Bazemore would be the least likely to go, if for no other reason than his contract became fully guaranteed in January. Jenkins and Tyler would likely have to be moved in a deal or deals for a second-round pick or perhaps a trade exception (if for one player only).
But simply trading one of those players will not get the Warriors under.
They also could get under the tax by trading one of their high-money players – such as Richard Jefferson or Andris Biedrins – in a deal that brings back a player or players whose salaries are $1.2 million less than either of those players.
It’s also possible the Warriors could remain above the tax and simply be a tax-paying team. They’d have to pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty in the amount they’re over the tax, and in addition, they would not be eligible to recoup monies that are redistributed by non-tax-paying teams.
For where the Warriors are right now, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to be above the tax line. Then again, Lacob has made it clear the Warriors are willing to be in the tax if need be.
Gordon and Redick don’t make a lot of sense for the Warriors. Gordon is a smallish two guard, which is not dissimilar from Stephen Curry’s old backcourt mate, Monta Ellis.
Acquiring him would likely set up the whole “small backcourt” narrative again for Golden State. As for Redick, he’s a free agent at the end of the season and will be looking for legitimate money. That doesn’t seem like it’s in the Warriors’ wheelhouse.
Smith has long been a player on the Warriors’ radar, but it’s tough to find a match. The Warriors already have an all-star power forward in David Lee, and it’s no secret Lacob and the front office want him moving forward.
Smith is another player who is going to try to command big money this offseason and so there would be no assurance the Warriors could re-sign him.
In past years, the Warriors let it be known they were in the mix for Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Rudy Gay and a few other big names that were available.
This year the Warriors seem to be headed toward the postseason, it’s been more quiet … and rightfully so.