David Lee

It’s not *if* Lacob’s Warriors will make their biggest move yet, it’s *when*

KD Steph

The Golden State Warriors aren’t just a team Kevin Love reportedly likes as a potential destination, they’re a squad that also appears to be a perfect fit. Love and Stephen Curry would be an explosive pair, and they’d be flanked by defensive stalwarts like Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut. Maybe even throw Klay Thompson and/or Draymond Green on that squad, depending on what it took to get Love.

If it were only that easy.

The Timberwolves have several options. Love may not want to return to Minnesota, but Golden State isn’t the only team looking for an All-Star power forward with range out to 27 feet. The Warriors have no draft picks until 2015. Any trade that brought Love (or Carmelo Anthony, as Marcus Thompson suggested) would mean finding a suitor for David Lee, which would be a lot easier if he didn’t have two $15 million seasons left on his contract, especially in a world where defensive analytics matter more than ever.

As you can probably surmise, I’m not of the opinion that the Warriors have much of a shot at getting Love (or Anthony). I’ve been proven wrong by this organization before — for example, within a few hours of publishing a post full of jokes about their coaching search, they signed Steve Kerr. Nor did I expect them to acquire anyone on Iguodala’s level after last season. Based on Bob Myers’ comments about that acquisition, he didn’t seem to think there was a good chance of getting Iguodala either.

The NBA landscape is a little different now, as the Warriors are a destination players aren’t laughing at, ignoring or trying to flee. Golden State can pull off big moves, even bigger than getting Iguodala, if that’s what they set out to do. And getting Love (or Melo) would be the team’s biggest non-draft move since trading for Baron Davis.

As MTII explained in the column I mentioned three paragraphs ago, trading Lee isn’t an impossible mission. But it would be far from easy, and in looking at Lee’s contract I can’t help but wonder if the Warriors wouldn’t mind looking busy while acting patiently. Because Lee becomes an unrestricted free agent at the same time as another star, one who’s decidedly more super than Love or Anthony … Kevin Durant.

The Lacob/Guber Warriors have been in on several “big” players (Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard), but have they ever gone all-in? Would they be prepared to gut their team for Love, a talented player who has never experienced the postseason? I get the feeling that the Warriors are ready to pounce whenever an opportunity is presented to take the franchise from the ranks of the competitive to the top of the NBA (which is probably what Joe Lacob means when he says he’s open to going into the luxury tax zone if that’s what it takes to win).

But timing is everything.

I try not to mix different sports, but it’s too hard to resist in this case. As the San Francisco 49ers watched Levi’s Stadium rise from the dirt next to their practice facility, not once did the team announce that they were biding their time until 2014. In fact, they made three straight conference title games and came within a play of winning the Super Bowl. The goal was always to win, but they REALLY want to win now that the Stadium Builders Licenses are getting some real use. Earning a spot in Super Bowl 50 (Feb. 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium) would represent a dream scenario for the 49ers and Jed York.

The Warriors recently purchased land in Mission Bay, and the plans are reportedly to move to San Francisco in 2018. But this is a site that wouldn’t present anywhere near the number of environmental and political obstacles created by the Piers 30-32 location, and the Warriors could potentially fast-track their latest arena project in San Francisco … like the 49ers did in Santa Clara.

A lot would have to fall into place just perfectly for the Warriors to land Durant, who’s just crazy enough to sign an extension to stay in Oklahoma City. But other than bringing in LeBron James (who can terminate his contract with the Heat after this season and throw the entire NBA into a state of chaos), there’s nothing the Warriors would like more than to open Twitterena, The Facebook Center or whatever they end up calling their next home with a team featuring Curry and Durant — two down-to-earth stars who share a lot of similarities on and off the court — in their primes.

If they’re patient, that’ll be the ultimate goal. UNLESS a trade for one of the league’s best stretch fours falls into their laps and simply makes too much sense. Trades like that are hard to come by in the NBA, but like I said earlier — I’ve been proven wrong before when it comes to big-splash moves from this Warriors regime.

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