My vacation time was waaaaaaay too short. Nonetheless, I’m back on the blog, ready to take on a new NBA season. I hope you all didn’t leave me. Feel free to drop some questions or say what’s up. Just to get things started, I will answer five questions that I know are coming, just to save you some time:
5. Now that Adonal’s gone, what are the chances Patrick O’Bryant will start?
There is actually a possibility. Of course, he’ll have to earn the spot. But, with his talent, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that when the season begins, O’Bryant will be the starting center for the Bakersfield Jam.
4. What’s going on with Mickael Pietrus?
He’ll be back. The Warriors have extended a $3.5 million qualifying offer to Mickael Pietrus. That’s much more than he’ll get from anyone else for next year. So unless the Warriors get a deal they like from Miami or Dallas, or Pietrus is willing to take a mil or two less and sign with another team, he’ll be accepting that qualifying offer and bolstering the Warriors bench.
3. Who will get their money first: Baron, Andris or Nellie?
I’m going to say Nellie first, then Biedrins, then Baron — if the Warriors extend Baron at all. Obviously, locking up Nelson is the top priority (which is perhaps the problem. Maybe if the Warriors start moving on without him, he’ll lose some leverage and stop holding the team hostage). After that, Biedrins will get done because his deal is easy. Andris’ agent, Bill Duffy, is one of the best in the business and he has a great relationship with Mullin. It will be amicable and smooth. About $50 million over six years. Then there’s Baron. I read somewhere that the Warriors put three years, $50 million on the table. But a source who hasn’t steered me wrong yet told me the two teams talked, but money wasn’t part of the conversation. I was told Baron knows the Warriors have to tie up some other loose ends, so he’s willing to be patient, especially since the Warriors showed they want to talk extension.
2. Will Sarunas Jasekevicius return?I highly doubt it after this shot he took at his teammates. He told my man Chris Sheridan from ESPN.com that he wanted to play for a team “that plays more European. You know my style of basketball is more team-oriented, and I hope to find a team that actually passes the ball and plays team ball.”
Ooooooh. Sarunas going hard after B. Diddy, Jax and Monta. Who else could he be talking about? They are the primary ball-handlers and shot takers.
One thing that’s not true are the reports coming out of Europe that Sarunas is playing for Olympiakos or FC Barcelona. No way. Jasikevicius picked up his $4 million player option already. The only way he gets off the Warriors roster is a trade or a buyout. A trade hasn’t happened yet, so it probably won’t until late February, as the more time passes, the worse the offer for Sarunas will get. Will he walk away from $4 million? I don’t bank on anyone giving up that kind of money. Especially not an aging point guard who will never make as much again. He’s better off riding this out and collecting his money, staying fresh for next season. He hinted to as much already. If he was taking a buyout, he would’ve done it. The Warriors would love to let him walk for $1.5 to $2 million. He’d get most of the rest back from one of the Eurobasket teams that desperately want to sign him. So why will Sarunas be in Hawaii for training camp? Because it’s hard to walk away from $4 million guaranteed.
“I’m really waiting for [Golden State] to trade me,” Jasikevicius told Sheridan. “It’s been going on since February, and nothing’s happening. I really don’t understand this franchise, to be honest with you. I know what kind of offers they got for me, and they’re not taking them. I know they’re not planning on using me, so I really don’t understand what they’re trying to do with me. In that league, absolutely nothing depends on me, so I’m sitting by the phone and waiting.”
1. Can’t the Warriors just trade Brandan Wright, Al Harrington and Monta Ellis to Boston for Kevin Garnett?
Oh sure. Rumor has it KG doesn’t just want to reach the Finals, he wants to do it by getting through the Western Conference. KG likes a challenge, and the Cleveland/Chicago/Detroit hurdle isn’t getting him motivated. I’m hearing he’s begging Danny Ainge to get him out of Beantown and into Golden State, so he can lead the Warriors past Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio.