Interview by Warriors Larry Riley
Not a lot to add to this transcript of Larry Riley’s media availability this afternoon, other than:
* A source confirmed that Memphis again tried to acquire Monta Ellis, offering a package centering around O.J. Mayo plus salary-filler. And again, the Warriors declined.
The first Memphis offer came at the start of the season, but the Grizzlies renewed their attempts recently before the just passed trade deadline.
* My understanding is that the Warriors’ final calls on Thursday morning involved trying to get into the Houston-NYK-Sacramento deal to possibly peel off Carl Landry–a rugged shooting PF–or maybe Jason Thompson.
There were also late calls to Utah, though I’m not sure the names involved.
If the Warriors were mainly offering Corey Maggette and/or Andris Biedrins, it’s easy to see why nothing got done.
To the transcript…
—- LARRY RILEY, post-deadline gaggle/
-Q: So officially, no trades?
-RILEY: Officially, we did not make a trade. We evaluated several things over the last few weeks. And I was never comfortable with anything that I tried to present, because I didn’t get the response on the other side. Nor was I comfortable with anything that was presented to me.
I just think that it’s a situation where we’ve got a few things happening with our team. Raja Bell is rejoining us. We will have that veteran influence that we like that he brings.
And what that really means is we’re going to play out the rest of this season and continue to evaluate the talent level that we have. And get into a position then to make some moves this summer.
Improve the ballclub through the draft and through the summertime activities.
-Q: Did you say last night that you might be involved in free agency this summer (over the mid-level exception)? How is that possible if you’re basically already capped out for next year?
-RILEY: I was talking to a couple of other guys and said there might be something today where we were considering whether to go after something with cap space. And that cap space would then open things up where you would have a much bigger opportunity to go sign a free agent.
As it is now, we don’t have a lot of money to get into the free-agent market. And we’ll have to either create more money this summer and do that or we’re going to be limited in what we can do in that capacity.
-Q: You had teams like Houston adding talent and salary. You had the Knicks looking only to subtract salary. What was the Warriors’ stance?
-RILEY: We were looking at trying to add talent. I did think that most of the activity that was going to go on would be cap-motivated at least on one side of the deals, that would be made. And there were quite a few of those.
As you say, Houston added talent and that was one of the things that they wanted to do obviously. A lot of other teams went after that cap space.
I’m more about adding talent here. But we’re going to have to do some things this summer to get that accomplished. And if we move somebody and create space this summer and then go after a free agent, that’s one way to accomplish it.
If we are in a situation where there isn’t money there, then we’re going to trade somebody. And of course the draft will be another thing that will add to our basketball team.
In all honesty, we won’t bring everybody back that’s on this roster. It’s not going to happen that way. But we will be selective in the guys that we take a look at and covet as far as this summer is concerned.
-Q: Houston added Jeffries and got Jordan Hill and possibly two No. 1s for doing that. Could you have done something like that—add a contract but pick up picks and a young player?
-RILEY: I talked to New York in particular at length and I talked to Houston at length. And we were not in a position to be able to accomplish what they accomplished. I think it relates more to the level of talent and the guys they were dealing with and that we were dealing with.
As you look at adding certain players, particularly those of youth… we’re going to draft two more players this year, one in the first round and one in the second.
And it’s OK to add younger players as you go along and supplementing your team through the draft is always important, but I would’ve preferred to have found a veteran that we could’ve added to this team.
I wasn’t in position to be able to do that.
-Q: Where there players you had off-limits for trades?
-RILEY: Yes. Yeah. I’ve said a few things in the past, what, a week or 10 days ago I said I wasn’t going to trade Monta and I said I wasn’t going to trade Steph. And there were other guys that I didn’t want to trade.
That’ll be consistent this summer in terms of… there will be an evaluation after the season, we’ll decide who we would not trade, and who we would not want to trade.
But in all honesty, if we get into the trade market and improve the team, you’re probably going to have to trade somebody you don’t want to trade.
-Q: What’s your evaluation of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis as a long-term backcourt?
-RILEY: I’ll answer that in two ways. Evaluation of Steph to begin with. Each two or three weeks he’s a better basketball player. And he’s showing all the things….
You can’t go into a draft and say, well, I know exactly what this guy is going to do every moment. And I can’t say that you know exactly what he’s going to be in six months or the second year. But you have a great indicator if you can scout a guy and see what you think he can do.
He’s lived up to our expectations. He’s gotten better every two or three weeks. He’s showing he’s a point guard with his passing skills and the things that he does. He’s had a few off shooting nights, like everybody saw in the Los Angeles game, for example.
But all in all, he’s doing an outstanding job for us. The fact that he is playing with Monta, when Monta gets back, and has been playing with him… doesn’t really disturb me that much because we’re seeing the league go to smaller and smaller line-ups from time to time.
When we played Dallas, they had Jason Terry on the floor with Jason Kidd a lot. You see quite a bit of that in teams. Having those two operate together, I’m pleased with what they’re doing.
-Q: Does it concern you that the offense has been so much more efficient with Monta out of the game?
-RILEY: Not necessarily, because I think there’s still some assimilating that’s going to go on where those two are concerned. I think that eventually it’s going to get to the point where they can actually be better playing together than they are right now.
-Q: Last night you had four players shooting well and the center struggling…
-RILEY: It’s difficult. What’s really important to us is to upgrade some of the things that are going on around the basket. I think it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to improve upon internally. I think we can do that. Or we have to have our eye on improvement in that regard as we go forward.
-Q: Last summer you talked a lot about making a big move, didn’t happen. This time leading up to the deadline, you talked about making a big move, then at least some sort of significant move, and it didn’t happen. Do you understand how this might frustrate fans who are waiting for moves and not getting them?
-RILEY: Yes. Yeah. I mean, what you’re looking at is… we’re in a situation here where people can become frustrated because it’s almost like a promise that you’re going to do something. And the only answer to that is we’re not going to do something that doesn’t make enough sense to us to pull it off.
I’m not in a position where I feel like that we didn’t exhaust everything that we could exhaust to get to where we want to go and try to get some players who are going to upgrade the level of talent on this team. We have that potential.
Some people will be frustrated that we haven’t been able to make a move. I also said last summer and going into this trade deadline that we weren’t going to take a player and rent him for a year, like baseball often does. And there’s merit to that if you’re in the right position.
But at the same time, that doesn’t fit with us right now. There’s no way that I wanted to rent a player and to be in a position this summer where we either couldn’t re-sign him or have some other problem associated with that.
-Q: Have you been instructed not to pick up any more salary?
-RILEY: No, I haven’t. That’s been the good thing about it. I haven’t been instructed to do anything that would be cap-saving by ownership, or money-saving. I’ve been instructed to do basketball deals. And we’re looking at those kinds of things consistently.
Now I looked at some cap-saving deals because if I could do it, I would’ve liked to have that money to spend as we go forward. But we were never in a position where we said, ‘Let’s just cut the salaries and operate lower.’
-Q: What does this team need to add?
-RILEY: We need experience. And we’re going to add some young players just because of the draft. But I’d like to have a little more experience and a little more leadership as far as the team is concerned.
-Q: Would you like a bigger guard?
-RILEY: I don’t think we’re going to get into a position where we’re going to be looking at a lot of guards as far as trade value and that kind of thing. If it comes up in the draft that we add a guard, so be it. It’s not a great need, but at the same time, if there’s a star player, I won’t pass on a star.
-Q: Were you offered OJ Mayo for Monta?
-RILEY: There were some discussions about that dating back earlier in the year. The story that came out was that we were looking at Marko Jaric—he’s been gone. That’s how old the story is.
There was subsequent conversation where we just decided that wasn’t going to work. And so… was nothing that… wasn’t one of those things… There were conversations along those lines and we never felt comfortable enough to go there.
-Q: Did you get a lot of calls about Monta at the deadline?
-RILEY: Just a few. Just a few. And not an avalanche. I think some of that was due to the fact that I said we weren’t going to trade him. And I think that deterred a few people. But the reality is that even if people read that, if they’re interested, they’ll call you. Yeahh, I got one in that regard.
But I’m very comfortable with Monta Ellis being on our basketball team and going forward with it and finishing this year with him on the floor being an integral part of wht we’re doing.
-Q: How committed are you to Don Nelson being the coach into next year?
-RILEY: Well, he’s under contract for us and I’m looking at him being the coach into the next year. I’m more concerned about evaluating the team after the season’s over and we get a read on where we want to go.