Warriors working to leverage future assets to get back future asset they already leveraged

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The Warriors are in a hurry to rebuild, apparently.

After trading Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to get what they considered to be their franchise defensive center, a must for Mark Jackson’s plans since he was hired, the Warriors shut down their entire team and tanked so hard in order to keep their draft pick. They owe Utah a pick, and if it’s eight or higher in this draft, their 2012 pick goes to the Jazz. They landed at the seven spot in the lottery order, meaning if any of the seven teams behind them leapfrog into the top 3 with the lottery, the Warriors would be without their pick. They don’t like that plan.

So ESPN reports the Warriors are looking to trade future assets in order to make sure that doesn’t happen.

But the Warriors, sources say, are prepared to sacrifice a trade asset or two before Wednesday’s lottery to make a deal with Utah that would wipe out the stipulations in place for the 28 percent possibility that the pick falls outside of the top seven.

One source with knowledge of the discussions described the chances of a trade by Wednesday as “likely.” Yet it remains to be seen whether the teams can agree to a deal without involving current players, as Golden State apparently prefers.

Among the Warriors’ options to retain their 2012 pick outright is offering Utah a combination of future draft considerations, cash and/or a relaxation of the current restrictions on Utah’s rights to the pick in question in either 2013 or 2014. At present, Golden State’s 2013 pick is top-seven protected and its 2014 pick is top-six protected.

via Sources — Golden State Warriors eye trade with Utah Jazz to secure lottery pick – ESPN.

So because they sent away a short-term future asset, they’re willing to possibly part with a future asset to get that other future asset back. Got it.

Well, they’re in a hurry. You can appreciate that.

Honestly, it might be better to liquidate the pick this year and get it out the way. The Warriors will have a  year to evaluate whether Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut are enough to win with, then add a pick. If the pick lands in the top 3, it’s worth it. With the overall estimated value of this draft plumetting in the eyes of scouts, it might be better for the Warriors to abandon it. Then again, because of that drop in value, the Warriors might be able to get it back for better value than expected.

It’s not a major development, but it does show how aggressive the Warriors will be in trying to get back on track as quickly as possible.

Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

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Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.

Report: Teams are calling Clippers about DeAndre Jordan trades

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Injuries have ravaged the Clippers. They started the season 4-0 have been without three starters from opening night: Milos Teodosic (plantar fascia injury, he is still in a walking boot), Danilo Gallinari (strained left glute), and now point guard Patrick Beverley is out for the season after microfracture surgery on his knee.

All this has led to the Clippers losing nine in a row before beating the Hawks Friday night. All the weight of the offense has fallen on Blake Griffin‘s shoulders, and while he’s been good most of the game in the fourth quarter his numbers have plummeted, and the Clippers have stumbled.

It’s left the Clippers with a couple of hard questions.

Do they need a coaching change? There was a sense from sources around the league that Rivers is already on his way out — he was stripped of GM/president powers over the summer — and what kept him around was the couple of seasons at $10 million a year on his contract. That’s a lot of money for an owner to eat, even Steve Ballmer, but the time may be coming as a way to shake up the team.

The other, what to do with DeAndre Jordan? They could not work out a contract extension with him (Jordan was acting as his own agent), and one of the league’s top traditional centers is a free agent next summer, but new head basketball guy Lawrence Frank said they want Jordan to be a “Clipper for life.” Does Jordan want to be a Clipper for life? Do the Clippers really want him back, and if so at what price? Does a Clipper franchise trying to get approvals for a new arena in Inglewood want to rebuild now, because it does not help that process? If it’s time to move on and rebuild, do they need to trade him now?

Teams are calling about Jordan, reports Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

DeAndre Jordan, who can become a free agent after the season, has been coming up in trade conversations, with multiple teams talking potential trades. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said last month that Jordan will be a “Clipper for life,” muddled matters, as does the limited number of teams who need a center and the size of Jordan’s contract ($22.6 million).

Jordan is an All-NBA center, a defensive force in the paint who sets a strong pick, rolls hard to the rim, can finish with the best of them, and is averaging 10.4 points (scoring and attempts are down without Chris Paul feeding him) and 13.4 rebounds a game. Jordan knows who he is and plays within himself.

It’s not hard to imagine how he could help teams such as Cleveland, Washington, Milwaukee, and a host of others. The question is what would teams be willing to give up to get him — they have to send back salary to match, but will not want to give up assets that help them win now. The Clippers will be looking for good young players and picks back in the package, which makes it hard for a team such as Cleveland to put together a package.

But before they discuss trade scenarios, the Clippers need to figure out what they want to do. Life has come at them fast this season and led to a lot of big-picture questions that Frank and Ballmer need to answer.

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.