Warriors trying to clear cap room even if Dwight Howard goes elsewhere

USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are working hard to shed contract obligations and carve out space under the salary cap for a run at Howard or another big-name free agent.

The Golden State Warriors are moving aggressively to carve out $20 million in salary cap space for a run at free-agent center Dwight Howard, and they've already engaged the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz in trade talks, but that doesn't mean their entire plan is dependent on signing Howard. Golden State's trade efforts are "only a preemptive strike," and the franchise is "intent on clearing room regardless of Howard's decision," according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports. If the talented big man chooses to sign elsewhere, the Warriors may pursue free-agent wing man Andre Iguodala.

To clear $20 million from their books for an outright free-agent contract offer for Howard, the Warriors would need to move Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins. Golden State has at least offered those three veterans to rivals teams like the Cavaliers, Hawks and Jazz, but Bogut is the only player with real value on the floor for next season. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes have come up as vital pieces in any sign-and-trade scenarios with the Lakers, so if Golden State can't move their three veterans they could still work out a creative deal to land Howard anyway. L.A. reportedly does not want to take on any large future obligations, because the franchise is planning to bid on big-name free agents again in the summer of 2014. Multiple first-round picks may be needed to sweeten the deal for a third team in a sign-and-trade situation.

As for the Iguodala contingency in Golden State, it's an interesting backup plan. The talented wing man is the No. 4 free agent on Tom Ziller's list for this summer, and the Kings recently pulled back an offer to Iguodala because he isn't interested in playing for a rebuilding team. The Warriors have the offensive pieces in place to shift the scoring load away from Iguodala and allow him to focus his energy on defense. For now, things are dependent on Howard.

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