Its trade deadline week in the NBA, which means the reportsand rumors will come in bunches and from all kinds of sources. As for theWarriors, well, theyre in pretty much the same shape they were at lastseasons deadline and the one before that and the one before that.Theyre on the periphery of the playoff chase, and theystill need a big man. Question is, do they have the personnel andor thewherewithal to acquire one? Here is a look at five big men whom the Warriorshave inquired about over the past few weeks:--Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: Dependingon what day it is, Howard is either on the move or staying put. One day,reports surface that Howard wouldnt mind playing in New Jersey or with theClippers and the next there are stories about GM Otis Smith sittingtight.It seems apparent that Howard wont be coming to theWarriors, not that owner Joe Lacob hasnt given it the old college try. The Warriors just dont have enough to offer Orlando, and moreimportant, Howard has little interest in playing for the Warriorslong-term.Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks: Of all thebig men out there, nobody is a better fit than Bogut, though he is far from asure thing. He has missed most of this season with a left ankle injury, andhes missed parts of the previous three seasons with other injuries.There are parallels between Bogut this season and BaronDavis back in 2005. Thats when GM Chris Mullin acquired a disgruntled andinjury prone Davis from New Orleans, and Davis led the Warriors to the playoffsin the following year.Bogut is a good rebounder, good shot-blocker and excellentpasser. Its not that the Warriors wouldnt want him, its that they might nothave anything the Bucks want.In addition, general manager John Hammond is known to bevery deliberate and conservative, and moving Bogut would be a riskymove.Chris Kaman, New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets have reportedly cooledto trading Kaman, but the Warriors would have interest for the right price.Kaman has only one year remaining on his deal, so he would be attractive as anexpiring contract. He could also give the Warriors a legitimate low-postpresence in the short term.However, the real question is whether or not the Warriorswould give up an asset for someone who might not be around long-term.Brook Lopez, New Jersey: There werereports a few weeks back that the Warriors had interest in Lopez. The askingprice would likely be Monta Ellis, and its unclear whether a deal like thatmakes the Warriors better. In addition, Lopez is expected to miss another twoor three weeks because of a sprained ankle.Looking ahead, Lopez will become a restricted free agent,which means the Warriors could try to make a run at him at seasonsend.JaVale McGee, Washington Wizards: Of all the centers on thislist, McGee is probably the most obtainable. Washington is a mess, and theWizards are willing to move everybody but John Wall.McGee is among the most athletic big men in the league, buthis reputation is troubling. He is a long way from reaching his potential, andthere are concerns whether or not he ever will.
In rising to the level of NBA elite the past few seasons, the Warriors have had to vanquish many ghosts along the way. The Memphis Grizzlies once fell into that category.
After a five-year stretch during which they lost 14 of 17 games against the Grizzlies – including eight in a row in Memphis – the Warriors now treat FedEx Forum like any other road venue. They’ve won four of the last five at the “Grindhouse.”
They’ll try to continue their recent domination when the teams meet Saturday night. Largely behind spells of fantastic defense, the Warriors (20-3) have won 16 of the last 17, including the last four in a row.
Though punctured by injuries, the Grizzlies (16-8) have managed to overachieve, winning five in a row under first-year head coach David Fizdale, a former Warriors assistant.
Warriors by 12.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Zaza Pachulia vs. Marc Gasol. Already one of the best centers in the league, Gasol’s work at both ends has kept the Grizzlies afloat despite injuries to several key teammates. Though Pachulia will get the initial assignment, expect the Warriors to send a variety of defenders at “Big Spain.” Containing him is surest way for the Warriors to maintain control of the game.
Warriors: 9-1. Grizzlies: 7-3.
Only two NBA players are averaging better than 19 points, four assists, 1.5 blocks while shooting at least 40 percent beyond the arc: Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Gasol.
Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (rest) and F Kevon Looney (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.
Grizzlies: F Vince Carter (R hip flexor strain) and G Troy Daniels (illness) are listed as questionable. G Mike Conley (lower back injury), F James Ennis III (R calf strain). F Chandler Parsons (L knee bone bruise) and F Brandan Wright (L ankle surgery) are listed as out.
The Warriors have won the last six in a row and eight of the last nine.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Class is in session? With Conley out, rookie Andrew Harrison gets the primary assignment against Stephen Curry. Harrison is rangy enough (6-foot-6) to present problems. The Kentucky product also is the kind of blue-chip recruit Curry loves to take to school.
Who becomes the equalizer? Iguodala excels in the role of stabilizing the offense and creating havoc on defense. He’s unique enough that his absence will be felt. The Warriors need someone to fill that void. Pat McCaw and Shaun Livingston are the top candidates.
Beware the grind: Memphis is terrific at keeping it close and finding a finishing kick. They’re 12-0 in games that go into overtime or are decided by five or fewer points. So far this month they’ve come back to win despite trailing in the fourth quarter by 14 against Orlando, 13 against Portland and 10 against New Orleans.
UPDATE (9:56am PT on Saturday): Forwards Andre Iguodala (rest) and Kevon Looney (sprained right ankle) have been ruled out for the Warriors' game against the Grizzlies on Saturday night, the team announced.
The Warriors may not have the services of Kevon Looney Saturday in Memphis.
The second-year forward is listed as doubtful for the game against the Grizzlies with a sprained right ankle.
Looney saw just over three minutes of action in the Warriors' 106-99 win over the Jazz on Thursday night. He scored four points and blocked one shot.
In 20 games this season, Looney is averaging 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in eight minutes per contest.
The Warriors and Grizzlies tip-off at 5pm PT on CSN Bay Area. Warriors Pregame Live begins at 4pm PT.