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Surprise No. 1: The Warriors changed plans on the fly and cashed in a bunch of chips for Andre Iguodala, instead of letting it all ride on Dwight Howard.

Very responsible, and opportunistic, of them.

Surprise No. 2: The Warriors put themselves in the middle of the NBA free-agent whirlwind and not only survived, they won.

All very, very, very new experiences for this franchise.

And startling for anyone used to the old and hoary Warriors traditions of stale ownership, nervous over-reactions and listless off-seasons.

The Warriors pulled a great big snooker job Friday, focusing everyone's attention on their pursuit of Howard, then quietly agreeing to a four-year, $48-million deal with Iguodala, the free agent swingman and long one of their favorite players.

They set this up by sending Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and their 2014 and 2017 first-round picks to Utah, a trade that created enough space under the salary cap to fit Iguodala outright.

Jefferson (at $9 million) and Biedrins (at $11 million) were both thought to be tricky to unload, especially under the gun, without much leverage.

And Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, general manager Bob Myers and the rest of the personnel staff pulled it off, to acquire the versatile, defensive-minded Iguodala.

Now the Warriors have somebody to guard Kevin Durant or Tony Parker in the playoffs, if it should come to that.

And it didn't cost them Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson or even Andrew Bogut. By the way, it actually reduced their payroll by $11 million this season.

Surprise! That's an incredible set of events (first reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski), all at once, and here's how I suspect it happened:

The Warriors were locked in on chasing Howard, and to do that, they had to explore ways to shed $31 million in salaries to get far enough under the cap to sign him.

They were also intrigued by Iguodala, who was Denver's best player in the two teams' playoff series last spring and whose two-way game can fill a lot of holes.

And Iguodala was ready to say "yes," after spurning Sacramento's entreaties and a larger offer from Denver.

A good player took less money to join the Warriors. When has that ever happened? Iguodala can play small forward, off-guard and maybe even some point guard for the Warriors -- and his loss directly harms one of the Warriors' closest conference rivals.

When the Warriors realized they had Utah ready to pick up a lot of their contracts, and that Howard was still uncertain, the Warriors went ahead and landed Iguodala -- ready, willing, and talented.

That all but precluded the Warriors from signing Howard outright (they just don't have much more else to package -- even dumping David Lee's deal, which would be difficult, wouldn't clear enough).

When word leaked that Howard was about to sign with the Rockets, it was no surprise -- the Warriors made their moves to do the Iguodala surprise.

The central core of this entire process, I think, was that the Warriors decided to hold onto Barnes and Thompson, instead of offering them to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade proposal for Howard.

They never had to make that final decision -- Howard picked Houston -- but it sounds like the Warriors were not giving up Barnes or Thompson.

So they found a way to add a star (Iguodala) without touching their new core of Curry, Barnes and Thompson.

I'd think the Warriors would want to move Lee if they're going to add any more big contracts, but with the way Lacob and Myers are churning now, who knows.

The Warriors, of course, also have Bogut under contract for one more season and Lee at power forward for three more seasons.

But they've made it pretty clear that the core is Curry, Iguodala, Barnes and Thompson -- give or take another big move or two in the next few seasons.

I've always respected Iguodala as a player, and he should be a very nice fit next to Curry, and whoever else remains on the roster whenever Lacob and Myers are done.

And remember, Iguodala is the one rumored to have told Mark Jackson he wasn't on-board with Denver's roughing up Curry during the playoffs.

He wanted to join the Warriors -- he didn't take Sacramento's offer right away, so they pulled it, and he clearly wasn't too interested in staying with Denver.

So Iguodala will be a Warrior. That works.

How will the Warriors find playing time for Iguodala, Barnes and Thompson, all wing players, if they keep them all? Simple explanation: They'll play Barnes a lot of minutes at the power forward position, which he did quite successfully, ironically, against Denver in the playoffs when Lee was hurt.

What does that mean for Lee? He's not looking like a huge part of the Warriors' future, and if he is around for next season, his automatic 36 minutes a night is far from assured.

Another point: To do this, the Warriors will have to renounce their rights to free agents Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.

The Warriors are going to have to add a back-up center, a back-up point guard and maybe another power forward, and they have little cap room with which to do it.

They'll need to fill in with veterans at the minimum salary (and a minor salary-cap exception), and presume that they're now a destination franchise.

Iguodala already showed that the Warriors are becoming a favored spot, with or without Dwight Howard.

They figured how to accomplish that without Howard's signature, which is the biggest surprise of all for a front-office full of them these days.

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