OAKLAND (AP) — The only way the Golden State Warriors will generate any news during Thursday night’s NBA draft is if they make a trade or spend some money.
Ultimately, the cost for either will determine what they decide.
With no pick in hand due to prior trades, Warriors general manager Bob Myers and his staff still prepared as if they have selections to make — just in case an opportunity arises. After all, they often do on draft night.
“We’d love to have a pick. I think a pick is an asset, so we’d like to have it. We don’t,” Myers said.
The second-year general manager has tried to plan for every possible scenario.
Last week, Myers met with his front-office staff at the team’s downtown Oakland headquarters and asked each what player they would take if the team had a top-20 pick. Everybody in the room gave an enthusiastic answer. Finally, Myers asked what they would give up to acquire that player.
“Then the conversation changed a little bit,” Myers said. “Then people get a little quieter and said, ‘Well, I wouldn’t give up that guy or I wouldn’t give up that.’ So you find out how definitive the group is about a certain player when you ask what the price to get him would be.”
If Myers makes a move to acquire a pick, it will likely be a second rounder. First-round picks come with guaranteed contracts, which can be riskier and costlier — not to mention the Warriors would likely have to give up a more valuable player to acquire one.
The Warriors want to get a pick because rookie salaries are inexpensive and the risk-reward factor is far more favorable than a veteran free agent. However, Myers said, “We’re not desperate to get one.”
Golden State’s first-round pick (21st overall) this year is going to Utah, finally paying off a debt from a series of complicated moves that started when the team sent a protected first-round pick to New Jersey for Marcus Williams in 2008. The Warriors’ second-round pick (51st overall), which was shipped away in the trade to get David Lee from the New York Knicks in 2010, ended up in Orlando’s hands.
Even though the Warriors are without a draft pick now, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have given the general manager the financial backing to buy picks before.
The Warriors paid Charlotte $2 million to move up in the second round and select Jeremy Tyler 39th overall in 2011. Myers also was plenty busy last June, when the Warriors selected three players — Harrison Barnes (seventh), Festus Ezeli (30th) and Draymond Green (35th) — who turned into immediate contributors, and they stashed Ognjen Kuzmic (52nd) of Bosnia and Herzegovina back in Europe.
If a team is willing to sell a pick, Golden State is handcuffed on how much cash it can shell out. The team only has about $1.6 million to spend — the remaining balance of the $3 million per year the league allows teams to spend out of pocket on trades.
While he has been busy asking questions, Myers has received plenty of inquiries about players on his roster — also part of the reason he might be less apt to make a move.
The Warriors went from a 23-43 record during the lockout-shortened season to a 47-35 team, earning the conference’s sixth seed and dominating Denver in the first round of the playoffs. Mounting injuries eventually wore them down and the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs sent Golden State home in six games.
The team’s young nucleus — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Lee and Andrew Bogut — will all be back. But there will still be needs to fill, either through the draft or free agency.
Festus Ezeli will be sidelined a minimum of six to nine months after right knee surgery two weeks ago, so finding another backup center has become a pressing need. Guard Jarrett Jack will be a free agent, and power forward Carl Landry informed the Warriors on Wednesday that he would opt out of the final year of his two-year, $8 million deal, to become a free agent.