The rumors continue to swirl about the Warriors and Magictalking about a deal that would send Monta Ellis to Orlando. According toseveral outlets, the Magic would like to acquire Ellis and pair him with DwightHoward.But several sources continue to maintain that the Warriorswill not trade Ellis, their leading scorer, in a deal with the Magic thatdoesnt include Howard.While the Warriors are willing to listen to potential dealsfor Ellis or third-year guard Stephen Curry, one source said it is unlikelythat anything of significance will happen before Thursdays tradedeadline.There are two reasons for that. First, the Warriors dontwant to part with either of their cornerstone guards unless they get at least alegitimate player in return. In other words, the Warriors arent ready to takea step back at this point.Reason No. 2 has to do with Reason No. 1. The Warriors stillbelieve they have a chance to make the playoffs and are not about to make adeal that would jeopardize that.Not after owner Joe Lacob and coach Mark Jackson promisedthis was a playoff team.The Warriors remain interested in Bucks center Andrew Bogut,but it is unknown whether the pieces are there for a deal. It is also unknown whether the Warriors would be willing to part with Ellis -- as part of a bigger trade -- in a deal for Bogut.
It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.
The Warriors are going to be fine.
They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.
After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.
“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.
“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”
It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.
Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.
It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.
“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.
“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.
For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.
And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.
“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”
The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.
Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”
That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.
“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”
Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.
“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”
He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.
That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.
When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.
So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.
The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
Warriors by 8.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.
Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.
GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.
HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.