The Warriors are not getting Carmelo Anthony. As much as they would like to add the Denver Nuggets' All-Star small forward, especially franchise CEO Joe Lacob, just too many obstacles exist for that to happen.
To be sure, it would take something dramatic for the Warriors to get a difference maker at all.
Despite the co-owner's wishes and general manager Larry Riley's efforts, that missing piece is just not out there right now. Things can change, considering the trade deadline is just under a month away. But the season-changing trade is unlikely, even with more than $17 million in expiring contracts as barter.
If it can happen, the Warriors' best bet at a major injection figures to be at small forward.
A legitimate center is a rare commodity in the NBA. Ditto for point guards. (According to one team source, it would take a monster offer to pry Stephen Curry from the Warriors' hands.) The Warriors are locked in with $80 million man David Lee at power forward, and good luck acquiring a shooting guard better than Monta Ellis -- and at $11 million a year.
That leaves small forward. The options at that position are not as unreasonable as the Warriors' nabbing their major need -- a formidable center.
"If Dorell Wright is coming off the bench," one team source said, "we're a really good team. That would solve two problems. It would give us the upgrade in talent, and it would bolster our bench significantly."
Who might such a player be? (Warning: don't get your hopes up.)
Andre Iguodala: The Philadelphia forward has been on the Warriors' radar for a while, according to team sources. But a few things are working against the Warriors. The 76ers (20-26) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, making it unlikely they'll dump a star while in the playoff chase. Rookie Evan Turner has struggled, making Iguodala less expendable. And the Warriors' lack of a desirable center deprives them of the bargaining chip the 76ers need.
Luol Deng: The Chicago forward would give the Warriors better size and rebounding at that position. He also would be the Warriors' most-efficient scorer at that position in recent memory. Obstacles? Deng is due $40 million over next three seasons. Is he that good? Also, Chicago would probably want Ellis but would have to settle for expiring contracts. Is that enough?
Josh Smith: The business of basketball suggests Atlanta will eventually have to trade someone. After posting the third-best record in the East last season, the Hawks are looking at a No. 4 or 5 seed despite having the eighth-highest payroll. Chances are the Hawks won't retool soon. But if they did, Smith would seem to fit at small forward for the Warriors. He affects the games on both ends.
Jeff Green: He is a pending restricted free agent. But Oklahoma City can't go crazy with his salary because it has to save room for Russell Westbrook's extension. Many believe Green is playing out of position at power forward. Instead of keeping Green, the Thunder might want to save the money to go after a true power forward in the future. It would be risky to trade a starter on a rising team, but if Oklahoma City did, Green could work for the Warriors and might come at a good price.
Danny Granger: The Warriors wouldn't mind getting their hands on the Indiana star, whom they passed on in the 2005 draft for Ike Diogu. Granger is a difference maker who could be even better with more help around him. But the Pacers have some $30 million coming off the books. They will be in rebuild mode with Granger and Darren Collison as the core.