The Golden State Warriors have officially entered the fray of the off season. They find themselves in surprisingly good shape heading into both the draft and free agency.
They got off to a fast start trading away Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette for Dan Gadzuric's and Charlie Bell's expiring contracts on Tuesday. The move all ready has fans giddy to watch what else is in store for this young team.
By trading Maggette, they opened up a new world of opportunity for this year and beyond.
With the draft days away and a new energy shooting through the veins of Bay area fans, let's take a look at what else is in store...
We start with June 24, draft day for the NBA.
The Warriors started the week with picks six and 34. After moving back in the second round to pick 44, they used it as extra trade bait in the Maggette deal.
Now Golden State is left with pick six, and that's just fine with them.
The Warriors have an opportunity to take the best player that falls or move back and accumulate more picks.
In the first round, the team should find themselves with two main possibilities laid out in front of them if they choose to keep the sixth pick.
If the talented 6'11" center falls their way, they shouldn't think twice about the pick. He may turn out crazy in the end, but it's a gamble they have to take. The team could use a true big man inside to complement one of their athletic power forwards in Anthony Randolph or Brandan Wright.
His offensive and defensive skills are the superior to other big men in the draft. He can post up, overpower opponents, and man up on defense. Cousins will be everything or nothing in the NBA and Golden State may be a place where he could be everything.
If Greg Monroe is the alternative to Cousins, he presents a good option and even safer pick. Monroe will never be a superstar, but will definitely be an instant and solid contributor. He would bring a good presence inside and a passing ability that would be fantastic for an inside/out game with Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis.
His defense could also help, especially when it comes to blocking and helping on the weak side. He averaged 1.6 blocks and 1.7 steals per game in his senior year. Those quick hands could work well against some of the slower NBA big men.
If they are not in love with the one that falls to them, they should try hard to trade out. The team could trade back and select a second tier big man or a variety of small forward options.
Even if it was a swap one slot back to No. 7 with the Pistons, they could pick up additional picks or clear some more roster space. With the seventh pick, they may snag Al-Farouq Aminu from Wake Forest to fill in the small forward slot.
If they trade back to the middle of the first round, look at Xavier Henry, Patrick Patterson, James Anderson, and Ekpe Udoh. They are all fine options who could help almost immediately.
If Golden State heads back even further to the bottom 10 picks of the round, look for Damion James to be a possible target.
Golden State finds themselves in a position of power heading into the draft. Whatever decision they make, it may add an additional cornerstone to Curry for years to come.
If fans had a choice, Andris Biedrins would be shipped first class by many of them personally. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
But after finding a suitor for Maggette, someone has to be willing to take Biedrins too, right?
He's not an awful player, but Biedrins isn't what they hoped. After a much maligned season last year and the probable pick of a new center, his time is up.
Some team should be willing to take a chance based on his solid rebounding and decent defensive skills.
The Warriors should have complementary big men Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph returning from injury to work at the PF spot with who they draft. While Biedrins wouldn't be a terrible backup, they should find new use for the money he is making.
At $9 million per year, the former first round pick may be better suited by a change of scenery. His departure could also open up additional cap space in the right deal for the overshadowed, yet promising free agent class of 2011-12.
One rumored deal would have them going another route. Hedo Turkoglu's contract matches up perfectly with Biedrins. It may not be the smartest move for the Raptors, but on some levels it could make sense.
Without Maggette they have a void at the small forward spot, and Turkoglu may not be a bad filler. If the Raptors can't dump him for someone else, the Warriors should at least inquire about making it work.
Both Randolph and Ellis have been involved in trade rumors for the better part of 2010. But it would be a mistake to get rid of either.
We'll start with the talented guard. Once Curry was selected many thought the writing was on the wall for Ellis. Instead, the two turned out to work quite well together last season.
Ellis averaged over 25 PPG and over five assists. Curry averaged 17.5 PPG and a smidge under six assists. Together they began to form one of the best backcourts in the NBA.
Both play decent defense, figured out ways to keep the other involved, and were able to find teammates to give an additional punch.
The team averaged the second most points per game last season and they were a big reason. If the rest of the team could step up and the team's defense remembers the three-point line still counts, it would be a big step towards success.
By ridding themselves of Ellis, they would be taking away one of the best scorers and creators for others on the squad.
It is not such a sure thing that Randolph will be on the Warriors next season. But like Ellis, it would be a mistake to give Randolph away.
Before he got hurt, Randolph was starting to turn into a decent contributor. He has tons of talent and a cheap contract. He has shown signs of development and that should be enough to keep looking. He could become an integral role player in the turnaround for this team.
And because of the cheap contract, if he begins to look like a bad fit midway through the season, the Warriors could find someone to snatch up that deal.
While he isn't as important as keeping Ellis, it should take a favorable deal for Golden State to even consider letting Randolph go this off season.
Look, they're not going to get Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, or Chris Bosh.
But that's all right too. A lot of their cap space is set up for the 2011 free agency class and even 2012. They should have a sound roster to surround whoever they target in years head.
It also doesn't mean they should just make a couple trades and draft some players either. The Warriors should make at least one free agent move to fill out the roster.
Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric were not terrible depth additions in the Corey Maggette trade, but they still need to add a bit more.
They also return plenty of players from injuries who could help as well.
With Ellis and Curry both able to play either guard position, an additional backup would be nice. Players like Luke Ridnour, Kyle Lowry (restricted), Steve Blake, or Raymond Felton may be worth throwing part or all of the mid-level exception their way.
They could also try filling in the small forward position with Rudy Gay (restricted), Hakim Warrick, or Mike Miller.
These aren't the greatest options, but they should be considered to help improve the roster. They won't get a superstar this off season, but little pieces could add up to something big beyond 2010.
In sticking with the theme of change for the roster, management, and possibly ownership, the coach also needs to go.
Don Nelson has had his chances to turn the team around and it's just not in the cards for him.
The coach got off to a fantastic start in his second Golden State tenure. He immediately helped them with a playoff series win and a winning record the following year. Now, he's about to make his second exit from the team.
Nelson should do the honorable thing and step away. He has done his job, but it's just not where it needs to be.
He is an older coach, a bit stubborn in his ways, and a young team needs some fresh blood leading the team.
One all ready suggested name is Bay area native Brian Shaw.
Shaw has been an assistant on the recent L.A Lakers championship squads for the past six years. He brings the knowledge of a former NBA guard and a familiarity with the area as a whole.
If they want to go with experience, a couple former head coaches still remain. It may take some convincing, but they could get someone to bite. Lawrence Frank, Byron Scott, Mike Woodson, or Dwayne Casey are all viable options.
With the roster making moves for the future and Nelson not getting any younger, why delay the inevitable.