"Whatever," Richard Jefferson said to himself March 15, the day he learned he had been traded from San Antonio to Golden State. He just "got on the plane the next morning -- pretty simple."

The newest Warrior wasn't overflowing with excitement, but apathy is better than disdain when a player is traded from a contender to an also-ran.

In a blink, Jefferson went from starting on a team boasting the second-best record in the Western Conference to a coming off the bench for a team spiraling fast toward a lottery pick. He went from prepping for intense, meaningful games in May to hearing sales pitches about how good his team might be in the future.

Jefferson could have kicked and screamed, punched a hole in the wall. Instead, he is sucking it up and making the most of his new situation.

"At some point, man, you just get too old to really get (upset)," said Jefferson, 31. "I could get traded at the end of the summer or I could be here the next five years. I could go out and get hurt and my career could be over. So at the end of the day, whatever the opportunity is, if I'm still able to play on my terms, and step on the court, then I'm blessed and I'm happy. I'm not going to sit and cry and whine and complain."

Jefferson, a small forward in his 11th season, has already started leaving his veteran imprint on the Warriors -- dropping words of wisdom on the youngsters, communicating well with coach Mark Jackson, making his voice heard at meetings.


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What Jackson looks forward to the most is the professionalism and work ethic Jefferson figures to bring.

"He's leaving a championship-caliber team to come to a team trying to find itself, but he's a veteran and he's seen this before," Jackson said. "I think what gives him hope is when he sees where we're headed. Because, being a veteran, he understands that also."

But Jefferson isn't planning for his contributions to stop at the locker room door. In his first four games, he's averaging 12.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31.5 minutes -- all better than his averages with San Antonio.

Once a renowned slasher, Jefferson lived behind the 3-point line with the Spurs. Nearly 60 percent of his shots were 3-pointers. But the Warriors present an opportunity for the other elements of his game to re-emerge -- his open-court game, his ability to create a shot, his above-the-rim game.

Jefferson has an opportunity to be productive, but he insists the opportunity to score more isn't what intrigues him.

"Would I rather win 61 (games) and have a chance to win a championship and average 10 points or average 20 and maybe make the playoffs?" Jefferson asked. "I would go for the first one."

What does intrigue Jefferson, he said, is the potential on the Warriors roster. But he stopped short of penciling in Golden State for a future playoff spot.

Perhaps he looks around and still sees some holes to fill. He certainly appears to realize he has entered a completely different world -- no longer surrounded by seasoned veterans who know how to win and accept nothing less.

"There are worse situations I could've gone to," Jefferson said. "Instead of getting mad, I just look at our core group, what they have in Mark Jackson as a coach, the fans of the Golden State Warriors, the city in which we have an opportunity to live -- a lot of positive things.

"Have they had a lot of success the last few years? No," he added. "But it has to start with one year. I'm not going to start saying we're going to be great. But we have a chance to have a solid team. The habits of next year start right now."

  • There was some talk in the organization that center Andrew Bogut -- still recovering from a fractured left ankle -- would make his Warriors debut near the end of the season. But Bogut, acquired from Milwaukee on March 13, all but ruled out that option.

    Bogut also sounds pessimistic about his chances of representing Australia in the 2012 Summer Games in London.

    "I'm 99 percent sure I'm done for the season," Bogut said. "Olympics are hinging on my health."