OAKLAND – The Warriors, willing to take the risk of trading for Dwight Howard for 2011-12 even without an assurance of having him for more than one season, are not expected to resume pursuit after the superstar center told the Magic he wants to be dealt, Golden State owner Joe Lacob said Monday.
“I doubt it,” Lacob told NBA.com at the gathering to introduce rookies Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green. “I never say never. But we have somebody called Andrew Bogut. He is, in our opinion, one of the three best centers in the whole NBA, and in most people’s opinion. And he wants to be here and is a great fit. We think we have a really nice nucleus now going forward.”
That somebody is the obvious difference. A year ago, they were looking at Andris Biedrins as the possible starter, even by attrition after new coach Mark Jackson said at the time, “The bottom line is, he’s our only legit center on this basketball team.” Bogut was acquired from the Bucks in March, and though he is recovering from a broken left ankle he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, the Warriors report.
They don’t need to take the risk now. There’s already a talented center in place now, who, as Lacob pointedly noted, “wants to be here.”
The Warriors’ recent moves seem to back up the lack of interest in pursuing Howard. They used the last pick of the first round, obtained from the Spurs in the Stephen Jackson deal, on Vanderbilt product Ezeli, who along with returning players Bogut and Biedrins gives the Warriors three centers. A fourth option, Jeremy Tyler, is expected to be used more at power forward.
Using the seventh pick on Barnes and No. 35 on Green addresses their hope for an upgrade at small forward, and the team hopes to re-sign free-agent wing Brandon Rush. Next, they hope to add depth at power forward (Reggie Evans and Shelden Williams are possibles) and/or point guard.
“We’ve got pretty much what we want in place,” Lacob said in the first days of what he predicted will be a relatively quiet offseason for Golden State. “We’re in the free-agency market. First of all, we want to keep Brandon Rush. Then there’s a couple of pieces that we’re looking at for supplementing the roster.”