UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 4:20 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal
The Golden State Warriors have officially made some massive moves (well, they'll become official once the moratorium lifts on July 10).
First, the Dubs decided to clear up some cap space by trading away expiring contracts to the Utah Jazz. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Warriors were shipping out Richard Jefferson and his albatross of a contract, and TNT's David Aldridge revealed that the same was happening with Andris Biedrins.
Per Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times, the Warriors are also sending Brandon Rush to the Jazz.
It's unclear what Golden State is receiving in return, but it's likely as close to nothing as possible.
Immediately following the first set of trades, Wojnarowski dropped an even bigger #WojBomb: "Andre Igoudala has reached agreement with Golden State on a four year, $48 million deal with the Warriors, league source tells Y! Sports."
This deal immediately strengthens the team, and it doesn't prevent them from signing Dwight Howard. In fact, quite the opposite.
As HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy reports, signing Iguodala makes the Dubs a more attractive destination for the ultimate target and makes Harrison Barnes much more expendable in a sign-and-trade deal.
Despite adding another massive contract, Golden State just became even more serious contenders for Howard's services.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:50 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal
The Golden State Warriors are getting closer to trading Andrew Bogut and opening up some cap space to sign Dwight Howard.
As reported by ESPN's Marc Stein, the Utah Jazz and the Dubs have begun trade talks for the center who played college basketball at Utah. Stein also tweeted that we shouldn't be surprised by this news: "Jazz have expressed strongest interest to date in Bogut, sources say. No surprise after Al Jefferson's departure and Bogut's college ties."
Even if this is the first piece to fall for Golden State, it can't be the last.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:00 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal
According to HOOPSWORLD's Steve Kyler, the Golden State Warriors are actively shopping Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, and they've offered the trio of players to the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
The Dubs should be looking to do this regardless of whether or not they can land Dwight Howard, but it makes even more sense if D12 declares his interest in the organization. Should he decide that he wants to come to Golden State, it would be in the Warriors' best interest to clear up cap space and avoid the hassle of a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Of course, unloading even one of those hefty contracts without receiving salary in return will be difficult, much less all three.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 12:01 a.m. ET by Grant Hughes
According to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post, the Golden State Warriors are prepared to either complete a sign-and-trade with the Lakers for Howard, or offload the contracts of Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins so they'll have enough money to sign him outright.
Vecsey reports that the Warriors already have takers lined up for those contracts if the Lakers don't cooperate in a sign-and-trade.
Everything still depends on whether or not Howard wants to play in Golden State, but the Warriors have certainly dominated the July 4 news cycle. That could be an indicator that they're close to pulling something off.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 7:11 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes
According to Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Warriors are aggressively trying to unload expiring contracts in an effort to clear enough cap space to sign Howard outright.
Golden State has three massive deals that come off the books after the 2013-14 season in Bogut ($14 million), Jefferson ($11 million) and Biedrins ($10 million). Per Stein and Windhorst, the Warriors have been shopping all three of those players, but most teams have asked for either Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes as sweeteners.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 12:51 a.m. ET by Grant Hughes
Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times reports that in the Warriors' meeting with Howard, Mark Jackson was particularly impressive. More importantly, Thompson says that part of the pitch to Howard was that he'd get to play with Barnes, Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Until now, just about everyone assumed that either Barnes or Thompson would have to be part of any sign-and-trade deal with the Lakers. But Thompson suspects that because the Lakers have no leverage, Howard could simply threaten to sign with another team if the Lakers don't orchestrate a sign-and-trade agreement that the Warriors (and he) approve of.
---End of update---
Golden State has more than $70 million on the books, so any Howard acquisition would have to be done via a sign-and-trade. It remains unclear whether the Lakers would be willing to facilitate Howard's move elsewhere, especially if it's to a division rival like the Warriors.
One has to wonder what players exactly the Warriors would be prepared to give up, though. The Lakers wouldn't be doing their due diligence if they didn't inquire about the availability of budding young stars like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
What's in it for Howard
With Golden State, Howard would have the opportunity to play alongside one of the best point guards in the league in Stephen Curry and for a team with a blindingly bright future.
Golden State rocked the NBA sphere when it upset the Denver Nuggets and gave the San Antonio Spurs all they could handle in the second round of the playoffs, and its progression doesn't appear to be slowing any time soon.
The Warriors also have plenty of shooters to surround Howard with. Next to three-point assasins like Thompson, Curry, perhaps Jarrett Jack and, to a certain extent, Barnes, Superman wouldn't see as many double teams.
Provided his back doesn't hinder his explosion any further, he would be a great fit inside of Mark Jackson's offense. That is, if he could handle knowing it doesn't run through him.
How It Would Get Done
Sign-and-trade. That's it.
To accomodate Howard's salary and satisfy whatever needs the Lakers look to fill, the Warriors may even have to find a third or fourth team.
Los Angeles might be intrigued by a David Lee-Pau Gasol pairing, but Lee's contract is burdensome. Andrew Bogut could be a nice fit, since his contract is expiring, but that alone won't get the deal done.
Ideally, the Warriors would be able to move Lee to a third team that would send first-round picks and/or expiring contracts Los Angeles' way, while sending the Lakers Bogut. This way, the Warriors wouldn't be forced to mortgage the farm by giving away either Barnes or Thompson. Fellow youngsters like Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli don't need to be untouchable, but the former two should.
Projected Starting Five
Really, we have no idea what this would look like. We need, at the very least, the framework of a potential deal to get any sense of what it would possibly look like.
Still, we can make an educated guess. I envision the Warriors moving Bogut and Lee in any deal (likely involving a third team), and deciding to run with a smaller lineup.
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Jarrett Jack
SF: Klay Thompson
PF: Harrison Barnes
C: Dwight Howard
Stay or Go?
If Howard decides to leave the Lakers, the Warriors are his best fit, even above Houston.
That said, it's not really his decision. He'll need to help force his way to Oakland via a sign-and-trade, and no one knows how amenable the Lakers would be. Again, there will be many teams competing for Howard's affections, many of which can just sign him outright and thereby diminishing the complexities behind his departure.
Save for perhaps the Rockets, however, none of them will be able to promise him as bright a future.