As ready as the Warriors are to close the books on a disappointing 2008, they won't be ringing in the New Year with a roster shakeup.
At least that's the stance of assistant general manager Larry Riley, who has surpassed vice president Chris Mullin as the most visible member of Golden State's restructured front office.
"I would think all of our guys have the potential to build something," said Riley, who took over day-to-day basketball operations in November when Mullin's right-hand man, Pete D'Alessandro, was fired by Warriors President Robert Rowell.
"Now, will everybody be here in two years? Obviously not. But for right now, we're in a position where we just want to look at everybody we got and see how things mature. ... And I'll say knowing that if they were healthy, we wouldn't be where Boston is right now in the standings. But we've got to figure out what this team has got and what they can actually do."
Golden State begins a three-game trip with its league-leading 21st road game tonight in Oklahoma City and could be taking another step toward full strength.
Injured forward Corey Maggette, who hasn't played since Dec. 6, is hopeful of returning sometime on this trip. And though Monta Ellis appears to be at least a month away, the guard is back traveling with the team.
Coach Don Nelson, who revamped his offense three weeks ago to feature more drive-and-kick plays and less isolation, has said that their returns will bring more adjustments.
Golden State has preached defense lately with assistants Keith Smart and Sidney Moncrief as coordinators, but defense hasn't been the strong suit of Jamal Crawford, Maggette or Ellis.
And how will the return of their starters impact the Warriors' younger players?
Nelson's sporadic use of rookie Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright, even with Al Harrington gone and Maggette injured, has fueled inquiries from opposing teams about their availability.
When it became public 11 days ago that Nelson had called out Randolph, Golden State officials took the unusual step of spreading word that its big men weren't on the market.
"We're wanting our young guys to get better and we're seeing that out of (Marco) Belinelli. That's obvious. Brandan Wright's a better player. And we've got some rookies we want to get as much time for as we can," said Riley, who had been Nelson's top assistant coach before the move to the front office.
"If you compare some of our rookies' minutes to last year's rookies, they're about the same," he added. "We were trying to get to the playoffs, that's true, but I have all the confidence in the world that we'll find a way as an organization and that Nellie will find a way to get these guys on the floor."
With Mullin quietly finishing out the final year of his contract, it will be Riley and Nelson mapping out the Warriors' future with Rowell. League sources believe Golden State is prepared to move forward with Riley handling GM duties - if Nelson doesn't cross over from the coaching ranks.
In the meantime, their players simply are wishing for health.
"We never had one game when we're all together, so it's kind of hard," said Andris Biedrins, the only player to start every game for Golden State this season. "I just want a chance to get everybody together because anything can happen then."
"A healthy team," Maggette added, "is a good team here."
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