Sources: Warriors, Jazz discuss deal

Updated: May 26, 2012, 4:23 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

NBA trades in May are a rarity, but the Golden State Warriors are trying to swing one with the Utah Jazz before Wednesday's draft lottery, according to sources briefed on the talks.

The Warriors, sources said, are attempting to complete a deal with the Jazz that ensures Golden State's lottery pick in June will stay in the Bay Area under any circumstances.

After an April coin flip, Golden State has a 72 percent chance of seeing its first-round pick fall within the top seven of Wednesday's lottery, which would allow the Warriors to keep the pick.

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.

Under the current terms, Golden State's pick must be conveyed to Utah if it's No. 8 or lower, as mandated by a previous trade with New Jersey in which the Warriors dealt a pick that the Brooklyn-bound Nets later sent to the Jazz as part of the Deron Williams blockbuster in February 2011.

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.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob revealed on local radio station KNBR two months ago that the club had engaged Utah in discussions aimed at getting "our pick back" at the March 15 trade deadline. But that was before the random drawing at the league office in late April that went in the Warriors' favor, putting them at No. 7 entering the draft lottery after Golden State tied with the Toronto Raptors for the NBA's seventh-worst record at 23-43.

Sources say the Warriors have fresh motivation to try to strike a deal with Utah before the lottery -- even with the odds strongly in their favor to keep the pick outright -- because the price to acquire another top-10 pick in June would be too steep if Golden State's lottery luck is bad.

After the annual in-season trade deadline -- which fell in March this season as opposed to February because of the impact of last summer's lockout on the schedule -- trade season doesn't typically resume in the NBA until closer to the draft.

But the Warriors and Jazz are free to strike a deal now, according to league rules, because both are done playing until next season.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics