Tank City was in full affect in the waning months of 2012 NBA season with the hopes of landing a top pick in this year's draft. And with the draft lottery just two days away, the Golden State Warriors are pushing for a deal to ensure that their efforts were not in vain.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, it is likely that a trade with the Utah Jazz will be reached by Wednesday in order to guarantee that the Warriors will keep their lottery pick under any circumstances.
"[T]he Warriors have fresh motivation to try to strike a deal with Utah before the lottery -- even with the odds strongly in their favor to keep the pick outright -- because the price to acquire another top-10 pick in June would be too steep if Golden State's lottery luck is bad."
Golden State's lottery pick has a 72 percent chance of being in the top seven. However, if the pick becomes the eighth or lower, the Warriors must forfeit their pick to the Jazz. That would be the worst case scenario for the team that traded away potential all-star guard Monta Ellis midway through the season in a last ditch effort to tail spin through the remainder of the year.
Post Monta trade, the Warriors struggled mightily going just 6-22 to finish off the regular season. All signs pointed to "tanking" when it was clear that neither Stephen Curry nor Andrew Bogut would ever see the court in 2012 because of devastating ankle injuries.
Theoretically the same trade for Bogut could have been done in the offseason. However, the Warriors chose to forgo that option and pulled the trigger on a deal that sent their leading scorer to the Milwaukee Bucks, in exchange for a player that was obviously not going to play this season. And in one fell swoop, tanking was brought to the bay.
Funky line ups became a staple down the stretch of a frustrating campaign that even saw Dominic McGuire (of all people) running the point and initiating the offense at times. Coach Mark Jackson even started five rookies in the season finale against the Spurs. Which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was the first time that an NBA team started five rookies since the stat had been tracked beginning in the 1970-1971 season.
Knowing the Warriors history and string of bad luck, this safety net of a trade would put fans at ease until draft day. The last thing Golden State fans need is more salt in their wounds. Things could get ugly if the Warriors lose out on a lottery pick after fans painfully watched their team tank night in, and night out.
As well as having the 30th, 35th and the 52nd picks, the Warriors might be able to scavenge a few sleepers in this deep draft, but their true prize lies early in the first round.
This rumored trade is quite possibly the only thing that can bring a shining omen to this franchise since there is no chance of signing a top tier free agent this summer.
With money tied up in the bloated salaries of bench players like Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, the Warriors are banking on drafting an ace with this year's lottery pick. Last year this duo made $9,000,000 and $9,282,000, respectively according to ESPN.com.
The Warriors must look to the draft in order to improve their squad, since those two aren't very attractive trading pieces given their outrageous contracts and sluggish performances in recent years.
Keeping Brandon Rush also needs to be a priority since he is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. This swingman is not only a vital component to the bench, but more importantly to the team's future success. This offseason the Warriors should be looking to lock him up.
The thought of forfeiting their top pick to the Jazz and beginning the season with the fragile legs of Bogut at the five and Curry at the lead guard position may leave fans with an unsettling feeling in their stomachs. That is why this trade that ensures the Warriors keep their pick needs to happen.
They can't possibly tank another season and not expect any backlash. It would be true Warriors fashion to screw up a season and miss out on a lottery pick which is why this extra precaution is vital to next year's success.