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Warriors owner willing to make big moves

Jan 21, 2011, 3:38 PM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

Things are better in the Bay Area this year. And not just because San Francisco has a new restaurant called Sushirrito (sushi served in burrito form — don’t laugh, it’s good).

Things are also better with the Golden State Warriors. Well, not the Warriors winning games part, that’s still going pretty poorly overall. But the team has seemed to really coalesce around Monta Ellis as its star (and possible All-Star).

What’s more, the new ownership is a breath of fresh air. Joe Lacob (half of the new ownership team, along with Peter Guber) had been meeting with local media — mainstream and blogs — the past week and what he told Mercury News has to make team fans almost as happy as the diners at Sushirito.

Lacob said the new ownership group has already agreed that, if an elite player is available, the Warriors would be willing to increase their payroll above the current luxury-tax level.

Yes, Lacob said, he has been actively monitoring the (Carmelo) Anthony situation.

“We’ve had discussions with Denver,” Lacob said. “And I think it’s possible. But unfortunately, he clearly wants to be one place geographically.”

The Warriors were never going to get Anthony, but the fact they had the discussion and were serious about spending is a huge sign.

The other big question remains can Ellis and Stephen Curry play long term in the backcourt. Lacob was honest and said the issue was less offense than defense, and that they have to consider options.

“I really like those guys as individuals, and I like them as players,” Lacob said. “But I have to be honest, it depends. If we got offered a great situation, would I break it up? Yes.”

There’s the perception that Curry has taken a step back this year, and certainly Ellis has become the dominant force. Yet, Curry is playing fewer minutes and keeping his numbers flat with last year by being more efficient. Still, would they consider trading Curry right now, a guy who was untouchable last summer?

“Does that mean that Curry would be traded, or more likely to be traded than Ellis? Not necessarily,” Lacob said. “It really depends. “… This is all dependent on what you’re going to get in return.”

After years without hope or much word from the ownership, this new group has to be the best thing to hit the Bay Area this year. Maybe even better than sushi burritos. Maybe.

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