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FILE -- New Warriors owner Joe Lacob is ready to make the deals that will tranform the team. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

The office is not haunted, after all.

You do not feel Chris Cohan's numbing presence, thank goodness, when Joe Lacob waves you in and immediately jumps into a free-flowing conversation about big trades, recent disappointments and big promises.

The theme: The Warriors are now an active, antsy franchise, just dying to make the move that would change everything and not afraid to contemplate dealing away their best players.

"I'm certainly biased toward doing something -- strongly," Lacob said Thursday during our long discussion in the owner's clean corner office at the Warriors facility.

"What I would really love to do is to pull off the deal to get a superstar. There's one or two of them out there."

Denver's Carmelo Anthony would be the main one, and Lacob admits Anthony is probably headed elsewhere.

But just three months after Lacob took over the reins with co-owner Peter Guber, the most striking points of this 35-minute interview were Lacob's willingness to publicly circle who and what he wants, and offer specific criticisms of his own players and coach.

Some of the highlights:

  • Lacob said he loves the offensive firepower of the Warriors' Monta Ellis-Stephen Curry backcourt, but had questions about the duo's ability to hold up defensively.

    "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."

  • The owner called Ellis "our core, franchise player," and agreed that Curry has not played to the standards of last season.

    "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."

    But the difference from just last summer is unmistakable: Curry used to be beyond trade talk, even for Lacob, and he's not now.

  • Lacob suggested he'd like to see coach Keith Smart give rookie Ekpe Udoh more minutes and institute a steadier substitution pattern.

    "There are times that I do not understand it," Lacob said of Smart's playing rotation.

    "He's a very cerebral guy. There's a method to his madness to this point, I think. There are times I don't quite get it, and I think he's still trying to work the kinks out, trying to understand what he has."

  • Lacob said the decline of center Andris Biedrins has sharpened the Warriors' need for a low-post presence.

    "Maybe it's going to come back," Lacob said of Biedrins' productivity. "He's a valuable player. But right now I can't sit here and say we're getting enough out of that position."

  • 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 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."

    After the New Jersey Nets loudly pulled out of the Anthony talks this week, everything points to Anthony ending up with the New York Knicks.

    But Lacob suggested the Warriors' potential package -- which would certainly have to include Curry or Ellis, just as a start -- is better than anything the Knicks could offer.

    "We think we have better assets to go after someone like him, that caliber, than most of the teams out there that are being talked about," Lacob said.

    This is all pretty radical stuff coming from any owner, but particularly from the Warriors owner, after the long years of Cohan silence and befuddlement.

    Lacob said he won't do a bad trade just to make a trade, but emphasized that team executives have to be willing to embrace something dramatic when the right deal comes along.

    "We're willing to do anything to improve this team -- I told you," Lacob said.

    Beyond the goals and general antsiness, Lacob said he was happy with the attitude of the team and the spirit of the locker room, if not the 18-23 record at the midpoint.

    He repeatedly offered praise for general manager Larry Riley, but said that Riley, Rowell, Smart and all other top-line Warriors employees won't be fully evaluated until after the season.

    For now, Lacob's goal is to get to 28-27 by the All-Star break. Which means the Warriors (who are currently on a three-game winning streak) would have to win 10 of their next 14 games to meet Lacob's target.

    "Feels doable right now," Lacob said. "I think that would put us in a really nice position. Now the schedule does get a little bit harder in March again. So whether we can stay at .500 or better, you know "... we'll just see."

    After the All-Star break comes the Feb. 24 trade deadline. By then, the Warriors will either have made the move Lacob is dying to make, or he will be back pacing, waiting and angling for more action.

    Contact Tim Kawakami at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.