1

Baron’s time off: More than just a rest?

So it turns out those days off the Warriors have given Baron Davis since Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks weren’t necessarily just in response to the heavy number of minutes he’s been logging.

Coach Don Nelson said Monday that Davis had swelling in his left knee after taking a hard fall in the second quarter against the Mavs. It was the play in which Davis tried to block a layup by Josh Howard (he got called for goaltending) and landed parallel to the ground, leaving a visible welt around the outside of Davis’ right eye.

“”If it hadn’t have been for these five days off, I don’t think he could have played probably until maybe (Tuesday) anyway,” Nelson said of Davis.

The swelling didn’t come to light until Nelson mentioned it at Monday’s practice. The team took Friday off, and Davis was absent with the team’s permission from Saturday’s practice. Sunday and Monday, he worked out on the stationary bike and didn’t do much else (at least during the time the media was allowed into practice).

Reporters were told by team officials on Sunday and Monday (before Nelson spoke to the media, that is) that Davis’ time off was prompted by his heavy workload.

After Nelson’s media session Monday, athletic trainer Tom Abdenour told a team spokesman that Davis suffered a contusion on his knee and that the swelling was “nothing out of the ordinary” for such a situation.

Davis also downplayed the injury, although he didn’t directly answer the question of whether he could have played on Monday.

“We don’t play tonight,” Davis said. “We play Wednesday. So I’m planning to play.”

A team spokesman theorized that the injury might have been considered by Abdenour to be so minor that it wasn’t worth discussing; Davis certainly expects to play on Wednesday against Detroit, and Nelson hopes to get a full practice from him on Tuesday.

That being said, any time your biggest star misses three practices with swelling in a knee that underwent an arthroscopic procedure nine months ago, that’s not that best of signs.

– Geoff Lepper

1

Why I Love Nellie 2

Nellie was asked after Dallas’ game about his comments before that if guys didn’t make free throws, they weren’t going to play. Nellie didn’t respond with some company line, or tap dance his way around the issue. He said what’s real.

“I was lying to you. What, am I going to take Baron out? Those guys know I’m just saying stuff. Sometimes you don’t know what to say. You don’t make your free throws, you’re not going to play. Well, that’s for the 10th and 12th guy.”

This dude is all that.

9

One More Year of Monta at a Bargain?

My colleague Tim Kawakami brought up an interesting idea to me, and the result could be the Warriors getting Monta for another year at a bargain. I know everyone, including myself, were resigned to the fact that the Warriors would lock Monta up to a phat deal this coming offseason. But this way might be best for the
Check this out, if I’m Monta Ellis, I would accept the qualifying offer he’s going to get after this season ends. The reason? If he does, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent the following season.
Hitting the market as a restricted free agent is hardly as promising as hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent. He likely won’t get many offers because a) not that many teams will have cap space; b) they know it’s a good chance the Warriors will match unless the offer is way too high; c) Gilbert Arenas, Luol Deng, Baron Davis and Andre Iguodala will be hogging most of the offers.
Provided he explodes this season and becomes an MVP candidate or something, the likelihood is that Monta will get some three-year, $15-20 million offer late in August or something. The market will probably be much better the following year, when the Warriors don’t have the ability to match. It’s risky from Monta’s end, but restricted free agents rarely get their real market value because it’s designed to aid their current team.
The risk for the Warriors is that Monta could walk after the 2007-08 season. Of course, the Warriors will still have Larry Bird rights, so they can sign him to whatever, which few teams will be able to do.
But the reward is that they’d have Monta for about $1.8 million next year (the qualify offer must be 125 percent of the previous salary, or the league minimum plus $175,000). This means the Warriors would be able to go after a free agent, such as Luol Deng, and – if they want – sign Monta the following year. That way, they’d be using their cap space on new players and not their own, which they did three years ago when they spent all their cap money on Foyle, Murphy and Richardson.
This would work out better for the Warriors and for Monta, in the long run. The Warriors would get the chance to keep their young stud while adding much-needed outside help. Monta would get the long-term, big money deal he wants.

2

Warriors Respond to Magic

Check out some of the Warriors retorts to Magic’s suggestions that will be featured in Friday’s Times:

Al Harrington:
“I guarantee, if he punches one of us, we’ll punch back.”

Patrick O’Bryant:
“I’ll take a blow if it gets Dirk out of the game.”

0

Magic’s Eggin’ On Dirk

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So, Magic Johnson said Dirk Nowitzki needs to walk up to a Warriors player Thursday and smack him.
He said the Warriors took Dallas’ heart last year, and the Mavericks have to get it back. Magic said the way to do it was to start a fight. Just straight up punch somebody and prove to the Warriors, to his team and to the NBA nation that he is not a soft superstar.
For the record, this is a crazy idea. I get what he’s saying, but this is about as absurd a suggestion as you’ll ever hear. We don’t need a Brawl III. But I don’t need to wax poetic on that. It’s a given his suggestion is a bad one.
Never mind the poor sportsmanship, it wouldn’t work. If Dirk did what Magic proposed, he wouldn’t be showing he has heart. He would be conceding he’s the NBA’s Tin Man. The way to prove he and the Mavericks have the mental toughness to be in the class of San Antonio and Detroit, etc., is to get it done in crunch time, in the postseason. Dirk punching a Warrior would be the equivalent of Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear, or my dad backing me down and bulling me over when I was 12 and one basket away from beating him one-on-one for the first time.
That said, it is an interesting thought Magic proposed. One thing’s for sure, if Dirk is going to fire on someone, now is the time to do it – while Stephen Jackson is stuck watching the game on TV from his couch. Jax might completely forget about his newest tattoo.
I can’t help but think, ‘If I’m Dirk, who do I prove my manhood against?’ Well, here are the top candidates. Who are you voting for Dirk to punch?

Monta Ellis: He’s fraile and short, which plays right into Dirk’s hands. But Monta is super quick. Plus, he’s from the ‘hood of Mississippi, so you know he has heart.
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Matt Barnes:
Maybe that’s a bad idea. Barnes is obviously not averse to mixing it up.
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Patrick O’Bryant: He has a reputation for being soft. While he’s comparable in reach, Dirk is quicker. This could go really bad for Dirk if Patrick goes Bobby Bouchet and starts envisioning Nellie’s head on Dirk’s body.
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Al Harrington: He’s one of the nicest, most jovial guys in the NBA. But Harrington is in great shape, he’s stronger and he’s friends with Stephen Jackson. Bad choice.
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Baron Davis: It’s been said if you want to prove a point, walk up to the leader of the click and clock him in front of his boys. That would be Baron. But again, this is one of Jackson’s best friends, which means he may get a surprise visit later.
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Andris Biedrins: Dre may resemble Jim Carey’s character in Dumb and Dumber in this photo, but does Dirk really want to challenge a tough Latvian? Beans is a cool cat, but he strikes me as the type you don’t want to make mad.
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Don Nelson: At least Dirk would get a fat bonus from Mark Cuban.
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6

Stay on the Shooters!!! No. 217

The Warriors down one, 103-102, in the final seconds against Cleveland, and all they need is one stop. And guess who finds himself wide open at the top of the key. You guessed it, the Cavaliers’ best outside shooter Daniel Gibson.
He had only gone 7-for-13 for 19 points prior to, so there was a good chance he would stick it. Of course he did, right.
For the life of me, I don’t understand why this team refuses to tell one guy to stay with the hot hand. Why not tell Monta to follow Boobie everywhere, don’t let him get an open look. I know it’s contrary to the rotating, helping defense they normally play. But for one possession, one critical defensive series, it can be done. It should be done. Find the shooters, and don’t leave them.

2

Restricted and Unrestricted

JustPuked brought up a good question when he asked who is restricted and unrestricted on the Warriors’ roster. In fact, I just learned something by researching this. As most of you know, when a player is a restricted free agent, his team has the right to match any offer sheet he signs with another team. If the team matches, they keep the rights of the player. When a player is an unrestricted, he is free to sign with whichever team he chooses.
For clarification’s sake, here is a definition of restricted free agency, per CBA expert Larry Coon:

Restricted free agency exists only on a limited basis. It is allowed following the fourth year of rookie “scale” contracts for first-round draft picks. It is also allowed for all veteran free agents who have been in the league three or fewer seasons. However, a first round draft pick becomes an unrestricted free agent following his second or third season if his team does not exercise its option to extend the player’s rookie scale contract for the next season. All other free agency is limited to unrestricted free agency.

Based on this definition:

Andris Biedrins will be restricted

Monta Ellis will be restricted if the Warriors extend to him a qualifying offer by June 30. If they don’t, Ellis will be an unrestricted free agent (though the Warriors will have Larry Bird rights). But, chances are they will extend a qualifying offer.

Mickael Pietrus will be unrestricted. His restrictedness has expired.

Matt Barnes will be unrestricted. He has been in the league too long to qualify and he wasn’t a first round pick.

Patrick O’Bryant will be unrestricted. By choosing not to pick up his third-year option, they waived their rights to him after this season.

Kelenna Azubuike will be restricted, like Monta, if he declines to pick up his player option for next year and the Warriors extend a qualifying offer by June 30.