The Warriors, according to league sources, agreed Tuesday to trade small forward Dorell Wright to the Philadelphia 76ers for a $4.1 million trade exception and the rights to Edin Bavcic, a 28-year-old Bosnian power forward who was drafted in 2006.
The deal can't become official until Wednesday, when the NBA's moratorium on player movement ends. But trading Wright, the Warriors' starting small forward the last two seasons, takes his $4.1 million salary off the books for this coming season.
The Warriors now can re-sign restricted free-agent swingman Brandon Rush and still use their $5 million midlevel exception and $2 million biannual exception without fear of going over the limit that would require them to pay the luxury tax. And the trade exception can be used for up to a calendar year, so Golden State general manager Bob Myers has that chip in his pocket until next July.
Myers declined to comment on the trade report but did say the Warriors have been active in trade discussions and plan to continue that way.
"On a couple deals we were close and we worked hard on them," Myers said. "We were pretty aggressive in pursuing a couple of players we thought could help us and were very close. ... The results aren't there, but the days have been very long."
In two seasons with the Warriors, Wright played 143 games (all starts) and averaged 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and shot 37 percent from 3-point range.
Wright's departure comes as no surprise. His grip on the starting small forward job, which he gained thanks to a breakout season in 2010-11, when he averaged career-highs in points (16.4), rebounds (5.3) and minutes (38.4), was loosened by the play of Rush and Dominic McGuire last season. And when the Warriors drafted rookie small forward Harrison Barnes last month with the No. 7 pick, the writing was on the wall.
Plus, with the Warriors' needs in other positions -- they need frontcourt help, a backup point guard and a veteran off the bench -- Wright, 26, became the most expendable. His expiring contract made him more suitable to deal than 32-year-old Richard Jefferson, who has two years, $22 million left.
However, Wright didn't have nearly the value Golden State was hoping for heading into the offseason, according to sources. Packaging Wright with the No. 7 pick didn't bring any offers to move up in the draft or acquire a notable veteran. Even after the draft, Golden State didn't get much bite when dangling Wright.
So Myers settled for salary relief and Bavcic, who according to one source won't ever play for the Warriors. The 76ers, who are under the cap and in need of offense, simply took Wright's contract off the Warriors' hands.
Now, Golden State has more money to work with in free agency. But a source said the team still won't be willing to pay a luxury tax unless it can get a difference-maker.
Myers said his plan is to continue to be aggressive.
"We've been very focused with things that line up with what we need," Myers said. "We're in it, but we're prudently in it. ... We are not going to do a bad deal."
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