Top Western Conference rivals only adding to major Warriors' conundrum

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves
Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

With veteran-laden teams like the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns having all been eliminated, it appears the NBA's Western Conference has brought a changing of the guard this season.

The reigning champion Denver Nuggets remain dominant, unsurprisingly so given their four best players are each between 25 and 29 years of age. The more stunning element has been the substantial rise of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder, each led by two of the league's most exciting young stars in Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The talent and relative youth at the top of the Western Conference should impact the Golden State Warriors' trade plans this offseason

While the Warriors are still led by a 36-year-old Stephen Curry, they do have a significant amount of young talent that could be cashed in to revive the franchise's playoff and championship aspirations. Do they that this offseason, particularly if a superstar like Kevin Durant were too become available?

The issue is that Golden State can't simply buy their way back to the top with one huge acquisition. They essentially did that when they added Durant via free agency in 2016, a move that resulted in two championships and three-straight trips to the NBA Finals.

Nothing is assured for the Warriors if they add Durant, LeBron James or any other veteran piece. Those at the top of the West -- Denver, Oklahoma City and Minnesota -- don't appear to be going anywhere and should even improve going forward.

Is it therefore worth sacrificing the future this offseason? The post-Stephen Curry era may look bleak anyway, but it'll be even worse if they give up young and future assets without getting another deep playoff run beforehand.

Golden State have to look no further than their pacific rival Suns who sacrificed all their assets for Durant and Bradley Beal -- and for what? A first-round sweep at the hands of the Timberwolves.

This is the conundrum that the Warriors now find themselves, one made more difficult by the state of the conference. Take a look East and things are far less threatening outside the Boston Celtics, but the West is brimming with teams who are set up for long-term, substantial success.