If you've ever had the occasion to chat with Warriors general manager Larry Riley, or witnessed his strut, you'd know the word panic doesn't describe him.
Certainly, with the NBA trade deadline less than three weeks away, Riley's phone is all but glued to his ear. He and co-owner Joe Lacob, the franchise's CEO, discuss scenarios and explore options daily. Riley's staff of three is burning the midnight oil, exhausting its creativity on trade ideas.
Fans are clamoring for a trade, and Lacob publicly speaks about making this team better sooner rather than later.
But you'd never know it from Riley. His M.O. is to remain calm, think it through, dust off the pressure. He said that's how he's approaching this deadline.
"The main thing is do the right thing," Riley said. "But there is no question we need to make this team better. It has to be done in the right way. It won't be done in a knee-jerk reaction. We can (wait). We prefer to find a solution before the deadline. But if we have to, we can do it this summer."
The reality is a difference-maker is probably not going to come by the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Warriors' main assets, the more than $17 million of expiring contracts, are not as valuable. Few difference-maker types are available. The ones who are would require something the Warriors don't want to give up.
To be sure, Riley said things could -- and just might -- change as the deadline approaches. Negotiators lower
What if nothing comes up?
Riley said he won't make a deal just to make a deal, and he especially won't settle for a bad one. But he wanted to be clear about one thing: if the Warriors don't make a deal, it's because one isn't there.
"We will be exploring every option to make a positive deal," Riley said. "I don't think we can go through this summer without making a deal. I do feel like by the time we put this team on the floor next year, we need to see some improvement."
The Warriors, on occasion, make their need for an infusion of talent painfully obvious. The latest example was Thursday, as they barely beat a Milwaukee team down its starting center and with a starting point guard limited by injury.
But Riley said he doesn't want to lose sight of the fact that improvements have been made. The Warriors already have improved this season. They have won eight more games than they did at this point last season.
Riley said he doesn't want to blow up the team but add to it.
"Sometimes, it is difficult to be patient," he said. "I do believe it's a team that has gotten better. I know it all comes down to wins and losses, but there is some credibility in the fact that we are making progress. We want to do something that will build on that."