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Warriors lead Kevin Love chase, but will they give up enough?
- Updated: June 26, 2014
The Warriors need some bench help, but they will also look to make a big splash by acquiring Kevin Love. Are they willing to throw in the right pieces to get it done?
The Golden State Warriors followed up their surprising 2013 playoff run with a rather disappointing performance in the 2014 postseason. Some key injuries slowed the Warriors as they lost their first round series to the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.The Warriors clearly have a solid foundation with Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Klay Thompson, but there’s always a need for improvement in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
The Golden State front office perhaps expressed some confidence in the Warriors’ roster when they decided to fire head coach Mark Jackson and hire Steve Kerr as his replacement. There seems to be some sense in Oakland that a change in coaching staff will be able to take this team to the next level.
But they also are a major name in the Kevin Love sweepstakes. A proposed deal involving Thompson currently seems unlikely, but one would think the Warriors might change their tune if Love comes close to going elsewhere.
Without any draft picks, it will be difficult to add young talent. But if the Warriors don’t get Love, they need to improve their bench and get more consistent performances from their role players if they intend on winning more than one series in a brutal Western Conference.
PG: Stephen Curry, Steve Blake (UFA), Nemanja Nedovic
SG: Klay Thompson, Jordan Crawford (RFA)
SF: Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes
The dirty secret about the Golden State Warriors is that, despite the deadly three-point shooting from Curry and Thompson, the team was much better defensively than it was offensively. Bogut and Iguodala anchored the fourth best defense in the NBA, while Curry had to do everything he could to keep the Warriors’ offense in the top half of the league. The Warriors’ offense was 16.1 points per 100 possessions worse anytime Curry needed a rest.
Golden State might have one of the elite starting lineups in the league, but the bench desperately needs to be upgraded. The front office doesn’t have any picks to work with in the 2014 NBA Draft, but they’ll be looking for a backup point guard in free agency.
The Warriors also need to find a backup center due to Andrew Bogut’s injury history. Their front line was dominated by DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin in the playoffs without Bogut. Jermaine O’Neal is a free agent and Festus Ezeli is recovering from a serious knee injury. Improving the team’s depth is at the top of the to-do list and it all starts with finding a backup point guard and center.
Of course, acquiring Love would trump many of these issues.
While the Warriors could look to just improve the bench, they have their eyes on a much larger prize. That would be Kevin Love, and Golden State could offer an enticing package if Thompson is included along with Lee and Harrison Barnes. But the Warriors have currently been unwilling to throw all those young pieces into a deal.
The Warriors don’t have any draft picks and are over the cap, so they’re somewhat limited in their ability to improve the team beyond acquiring Love. However, Golden State does have a trade exception worth $9.84 million from the Richard Jefferson trade that expires on July 10. If they work quickly, they could make a significant addition using that.
In addition to the trade exception, the Warriors are also set to have the mid-level exception at their disposal. That could be used to find a backup point guard if Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford do go elsewhere, and a player like Kirk Hinrich might be an option. Golden State did show some interest in Hinrich at last year’s trade deadline before landing Blake and Crawford.