The last people to realise or even recognise a dynasty is over are the former champions themselves.
Golden State’s golden era is over despite the desperate attempts by their veteran stars raging against the light.
Steph Curry is waging his war on the Warriors becoming irrelevant by maintaining his on-court mastery but unfortunately for the two-time MVP, his teammates are becoming the grumpy old men of the NBA whose output no longer matches the impact they think they still bring to the floor.
At 10-14, they are not even in the play-in equation in 11th spot in the Western Conference, ahead of only lottery-bound strugglers in Utah, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio.
The poster child for the Warriors’ dynasty demise is undoubtedly Draymond Green, who has been suspended indefinitely after punching Suns centre Jusuf Nurkic.
Green’s reputation as a repeat offender, particularly coming a month after he copped a five-game ban, means he needs to pass certain counselling courses before he is allowed to return.
If anyone thinks a few anger management classes will turn Green into a soft cuddly bear in the twilight of his career needs their head read.
You could picture him in a group therapy session a la Dr Evil batting away questions about his long list of on-court indiscretions by saying “the details of my life are quite inconsequential”.
This is after all a player who punched a teammate, Jordan Poole, in pre-season training last year and got nothing more than a slap on the wrist from team management. Poole was traded after the season and Green’s entitlement has grown – the Warriors need to take some of the blame for that by not sanctioning him sufficiently.
Klay Thompson is no longer the chilled superstar he was in the prime of his career.
The dead-eye shooter has not received his fair share of credit for the Warriors’ four championships, particularly his effort to become elite again in the 2022 title run after serious leg injuries rubbed him out for two straight seasons.
He still has spurts where he catches fire and can swing the momentum of games with a few flicks of his wrist from beyond the arc like his 30-point haul in Friday’s loss to the Clippers but those hot spells are too infrequent.
Andrew Wiggins is the other experienced member of Curry’s once-reliable support cast who has gone missing, averaging career-lows in points (12), steals (0.3), assists (1.1) and blocks (0.4), slumping to such an extent that coach Steve Kerr has punted him from the starting line-up.
At 28, he was viewed as the key player who could bridge the gap between the Warriors’ long-term stars and their three relatively recent lottery picks as Kerr tried to replicate the dual timeline method he knows so well.
But their 2020 No.2 pick James Wiseman has turned out to be a bust and is now getting spot minutes at Detroit after the Warriors gave up on him last season.
Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have shown they’ll be good but not great players as they navigate their way through their third season.
At the other end of the scale, the acquisition of Chris Paul as their back-up playmaker has turned out as you’d expect for a player who is at the end of the road.
If he wants to chase a Mitch Richmond ring before he hangs up his boots, CP3 will need to try on a seventh uniform sometime soon.
A rebuild is needed at Golden State but they won’t do it while Curry is still drawing in crowds to the Chase Center.
The Warriors over the next few seasons will mirror Dallas’ final few years of Dirk Nowitzki or the Spurs when they tried to remain relevant as Tim Duncan wound down.
Those franchises hit the jackpot in the draft lottery in the form of Luka Doncic and Victor Wembanyama respectively.
The Warriors could potentially get some draft capital or reliable rotation players if they trade Green, Thompson and Wiggins but each player’s value is at an all-time low.
Green could have been a trade asset but will need to rehabilitate his image when he returns to the court and that will take more than the couple of months left before the trade deadline.
He’s got three more years left on his deal after this season and at an annual figure around $25 million, it could deliver little value while chewing up plenty of cap space.
Thompson is a free agent at season’s end and even if the Warriors wanted to deal away one of the key members of their golden era, he wouldn’t fetch much value unless a prospective trade partner was confident they could convince him to re-sign and that he would complement their existing roster in the final stages of the 33-year-old’s career.
Wiggins has three more years after this one on his contract, with $85m on the table, and based on his recent output, the Warriors would have to attach a future first-round pick to get another franchise to take him on.
Paul, Kuminga and Moody could also be trade options but none of them will get a difference-maker back in return so the Warriors are going to have to compile a package deal if they want to bring in an All-Star level player.
And even then, there aren’t too many options on the trading block and the ones that could be obtained are flawed – like Bulls duo Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, Hornets veteran Gordon Hayward or Washington’s Kyle Kuzma.
Toronto could be sellers at the deadline with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby but the Raptors drive a notoriously hard bargain so the Warriors would have to give up plenty to snaffle either of those two.
The likely scenario is the Warriors will plug away with their current roster and hope Green, Thompson and Wiggins can rediscover the impact that took them all the way to the title just 18 months ago.
But there is no longer a realistic path to the title at Golden State and with Curry turning 26 before season’s end, a lengthy rebuild is on the cards in the near future.