Panic season is officially here.
Mark Jackson fired; Mike Malone as Phil Jackson seems like a thing; Klay Thompson for Arron Afflalo is something the Orlando Magic would apparently do; Marreese Speights and David Lee somehow have trade value; but most of all, losing games means minor and major tweaks are now necessary to explore.
But what can the Golden State Warriors actually trade?
First things first, we'd have to assume they are going to be buyers, if they are indeed in talks with any other team. They've been linked to Kyle Lowry and likely will be to other veterans throughout the next couple days before the February 20, 2014 deadline.
But what do they actually own that other teams will consider in a trade?
The best asset the Warriors own is obviously Stephen Curry but he's as untouchable as they come. Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut just inked new deals and look to be on the team for the foreseeable future. Speights and Lee are just about as untradeable as Curry for totally different reasons.
And, so, in today's NBA where asset-hoarding is becoming something akin to the fight for the Iron Throne, young players under team control like Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green are the Warriors best bet for an impact player. Let's take into account that Thompson is up for an extension soon and he is under team control for two more years (one year a qualifying offer) and Barnes three more years.
Those are the best options if you think a Arron Afflalo, Eric Gordon, Gordon Hayward-type of player is out there for the taking. The aggregate level of impact would probably even out with the production going out the door. But maybe they can attach a first-round pick as a sweetener to steal a high-level impact player like Iguodala?
The Warriors don't have their 2014 first-round pick (as a consequence of the Jefferson/Biedrins/Rush trade that cleared the needed salary space to sign Iguodala) and have also traded their 2017 first-rounder to the same Utah Jazz. According to the NBA rules, you cannot lose two first-round picks in consecutive years so the earliest draft pick they could give up would be a 2018 first-round pick. That might work for a rebuilding team but five years is a long ways away.
Without assets to move (unless they want to reshape the whole team), the only way for the Warriors to trade for anyone would be to go into the luxury tax and/or use the mid-level exception they snatched in the Richard Jefferson/Andris Biedrins trade.
Trading for someone is a novelty aspect of the incessant need to improve one's favorite team. If the Warriors had LeBron James, I'm sure a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder would prompt calls to trade for James Harden. That's human nature, and how people watch sports. But the reality is the fact that this team is as set as it comes. There might be a move for a big man like Jason Collins or small trade for Kwame Brown (heh, but he was actually decent as a Warrior) but don't expect a blockbuster with the players that's been struggling in the past month.
Joe Lacob has talked a big game in his and the team's fearlessness to pay the tax if it means it'll lead to more wins (and perhaps a title) but we don't know if he would do it if it was an option on the trading table. The Warriors cut costs last season to go under the cap but that was more smart financial planning than anything. Going into the repeater tax would not be smart considering they were barely over the limit. If the Warriors are willing to go over the tax this season, and seasons later, and then pay the repeater tax after, we'll know they're serious about winning with this team now, in its current conception.