Warriors poised to acquire a difference-maker

Warriors poised to acquire a difference-maker
February 24, 2013, 11:45 am
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Harrison Barnes could be a possible trade piece in the coming offseason if the Warriors try to acquire a big-name player. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Over the past several months, the Warriors have reportedly been in the mix to acquire such players as Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and James Harden.

Each of those star players became available and were subsequently traded – to teams other than the Golden State Warriors.

The reason that happened was simple: The Warriors didn’t have the goods to realistically acquire a player of that caliber.

But that should change, and it should change very soon.

Come this summer, the Warriors will be in a very advantageous position should another star player come available. Once July 1 passes, the Warriors will have the asset wherewithal to compete with any team for any player on the trade market.

Think about it … when a team is put in a position where it must trade its star player, that team usually wants three things in return: Young talent, an expiring contract or two and draft picks. The Warriors haven’t had many of those.

As the Warriors head into the 2013-14 season – one in which you figure they’ll be coming off a postseason appearance – they will have young talent (Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, and, yes, Stephen Curry), big, expiring contracts (Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Andrew Bogut), and draft picks to dangle.

If you put those three things together, you have the makings of acquiring a difference-maker.

In the recent past, for example, the Warriors had been greatly constrained when it came to trading their first-round picks because of a prior trade with the New Jersey Nets. In short, the Warriors were prohibited from including first-round picks in moves.

It looks like a certainty that this will be the year the Warriors lose their first-round pick to the Jazz (New Jersey later traded that pick to Utah), which is bad on the one hand but good on another – it means they’ll be able to use their 2014 first-round pick in a trade, if need be.

Take a look at what the New Orleans Hornets got when they traded Chris Paul … Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu (two young players), Chris Kaman (expiring contract) and a 2012 unprotected first-rounder.

Here’s what the Oklahoma City Thunder received for James Harden … Jeremy Lamb (young player), Kevin Martin (expiring contract), two first-round picks and a second-round pick.

The deals for Dwight Howard and Rudy Gay, recently, included a plethora of young players and picks.

So, while the Warriors would have liked to think they were in the mix for some or a few of those players in the past, the reality is they couldn’t put together a realistic package.

They couldn’t utilize future first-round picks, they didn’t have a big enough stockpile of young talent and they didn’t have any expiring contracts.

All that will change this summer, though, when the Warriors have those assets, and then some.

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