David Lee

Adrian Wojnarowski says Warriors are after Dwight Howard – good luck with that

How much has Stephen Curry’s styrofoam ankle changed things? Ethan Sherwood Strauss is actually contemplating a world where it makes more sense to keep Monta Ellis than Curry, due to durability concerns. For those who don’t know Mr. Strauss (and since the guy consistently writes great stuff for Warriorsworld and Hoopspeak, you probably should), he’s the one who badgered Keith Smart on a regular basis last season whenever Smart doled out a 10-15 more minutes to Ellis than the sublimely efficient Curry.

Suddenly the Warriors seem more serious about blowing up the current group than they were when Chris Paul was available. If you don’t remember that scenario from a few weeks ago, the Warriors were this close to signing Tyson Chandler and trading a package surrounding Curry for Paul. Then the Warriors balked at the idea of losing Paul after a short season, and said they’d only make the trade if the Hornets took Ellis instead of Curry.

“Yeah, right!” exclaimed David Stern as he looked up from signing a contract forcing the Hornets to hold practices in China during off-days for the next five seasons. Maybe that’s not exactly how it happened, but close enough.

Now the Warriors are willing to trade their entire team for 40 or 50 games of Dwight Howard, according to the man who goes by the name of Woj:

As the Orlando Magic consider deals for Dwight Howard, the Golden State Warriors have emerged as aggressive suitors for the NBA’s best center, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Golden State management is willing to take Howard as a one-season “rental,” with the hope of selling him on signing a long-term deal before he enters free agency this summer. Like most teams, Golden State has inquired with Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith, but the Magic have yet to commit to aggressively pursuing a trade of Howard.

For the Magic to become intrigued with package, two things would likely have to appeal to them: rebuilding around young point guard Stephen Curry; and the Warriors’ salary-cap space to absorb the three years and $34 million left on Hedo Turkoglu’s contract. The possibility of the pursuit could be complicated by questions about the sturdiness of Curry’s surgically repaired right ankle. The Warriors are willing to part with either of their two guards – Curry or Monta Ellis – but teams clearly will watch how Curry recovers from his recurring ankle sprains.

The Utah Jazz own the Warriors’ 2012 first-round pick, which is protected through No. 7, but Golden State would give its next available first-rounder to the Magic. The availability of the rest of the Warriors roster, plus future picks, would be wide open for negotiation, sources said.

Please forgive the following fantasy team metaphor, but this is like when you covet one of your buddy’s best players (in this case, Curry) but your friend won’t make a deal. Then some morning out of nowhere, you get a trade offer in your inbox centered on the same player your buddy wouldn’t trade a week ago under any circumstances … only now the player’s got one of those flaming star things next to his name that means he’s either near death or showed up drunk to a court hearing or something.

So the Warriors are interested in Howard, and their plan to build around their marketable little college hero has vanished like an Etch-A-Sketch drawing. But even if the Warriors don’t care if Howard won’t verbally commit to staying with the Warriors past this season, how are they going to put together the pieces to get him if they also have to absorb Hedo’s deal?

The ESPN Trade Machine is down for repairs this week, but Howard ($17.9 million) and Turkoglu ($10.6 million) add up to a pretty large amount of cap room for the Warriors to absorb, and they’d need to send back similar salaries for the deal to work.

The Warriors simply don’t have a lot of good pieces to trade right now.

— Lee’s contract is worse than Hedo’s.

— Ellis is a guy who needs a very specific backcourt mate to make things work, and Jameer Nelson is not exactly tall.

— Andris Biedrins is averaging 14 mpg and is only making $7 million less in the coming three years than Turkoglu.

— Kwame Brown is the only expiring contract since the Warriors amnestied Charlie Bell, and he’s serviceable at best.

— Dorell Wright used to be a bargain, but after the first two weeks of this season it looks suspiciously like the entire league got together and figured out Wright’s game during the lockout.

— Brandon Rush can’t be traded in any package besides a one-for-one deal until the end of February, if memory serves.

— Ekpe Udoh and Klay Thompson are intriguing pieces, but neither guy looks like a guaranteed future starter at this point.

— Nike just sent a shipment of Adidas, Reebok, PEAK, And-1, New Balance and Pony shoes to Curry’s condo (hint, hint).

Good for the Warriors for finally realizing that Curry isn’t the answer after his ankle ‘sploded for the third time in 19 days, but how are they going to convince the Magic to take half their roster and, in effect, become Warriors East? It probably doesn’t matter. With Curry’s ankle officially DeRosian, Warriors fans deserve a pipedream. So what’s the harm in heading directly to Fantasyland? Dwight and Hedo J-Rich are headed to the Warriors for Lee, Biedrins and Kwame! Any day now…


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