By Marcus Thompson
Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 9:10 am in Uncategorized.
Keeping the discussion on Baron, though switching to on-the-court matters, I just did a quick look of salary cap figures for next season. Based on that, I like the Ws chances of keeping BD, though I think it’s much more feasible than I previously thought.
Just on the surface, you would think there are no teams $15 to $18 million under the cap who can sign BD. The Warriors are the only team that can go over the cap to sign him, so – assuming the cap will be at about $57M next season – a team would have to get down to $39M to sign him to the same amount he makes now.
There are teams who can do it, but most of them don’t seem like teams BD would be interested in.
Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Philly and the L.A. Clippers will all have money under the cap if they decide to sign a free agent before re-signing their own free agents. Atlanta has to re-sign Josh Smith. Ditto for Charlotte with Okafor and Morrison, Chicago with Deng and Gordon, Philly with Iguodala, and the Clippers with Brand and Maggette.
Before they sign these players, if they sign them, each of these teams are in the 30s and have plenty room to sign BD. If they’re willing to flirt with or pay the luxury tax, they can then sign their own free agents.
If any of these teams wanted to go after Baron, they would certainly have an enticing offer.
Imagine Atlanta, in the East, with BD, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Of course, I seriously doubt if Baron would want to play in Atlanta.
What about Charlotte with J-Rich, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor. The Bobcats would have to trade Felton, which wouldn’t be much of a problem. Baron was the man in Charlotte once upon a time. Still, that would be more like a step backward for him, I think.
Chicago would be interesting. Hinrich, making $10M, would be an expensive back-up. And I can already see Ben Wallace fumbling one of Baron’s dimes. But Ben Gordon would be much better next to a dominant PG, and Deng and Nocioni and Tyrus Thomas, gives BD some nice talent to work with. Plus it’s a major market, and he could have some influence on which coach they bring in. They could actually sign Baron, then trade for Pau Gasol. It’s feasible.
Philadelphia is way under, like $34 million, and they could get even lower by trading Andre Miller for next to nothing or an expiring contract. They could sign Baron, then re-sign Iguodala and Louis Williams and be set on the perimeter. Throw in Samuel Dalembert and youngster Thaddeus Young, and Philly’s back in the playoffs. Baron is the man in a major market and included in the East Coast Bias, too, instead of fighting against it.
The scariest one for Warriors fans would be the Clippers. Both Maggette and Brand are expected to opt out. Even if Brand doesn’t opt out, the Clippers could still get low enough under the cap by trading Tim Thomas ($6M) or Cuttino Mobley ($9M) and getting little in return. Baron would finally be back home in LA and the Clippers would have the PG they desperately need. Imagine BD, Brand, Maggette and Kaman. Plus they’ll have a lottery pick this season.
There are some others who are a few moves away. Miami needs to find away to shake the contracts of Mark Blount and Udonis Haslem, which would be difficult to do.
If Sacramento traded away Mike Bibby and Ron Artest opts out, it would be way under the cap. They could sign BD, then re-sign Artest and would be a formidable team when you consider Kevin Martin and John Salmons. Boom Dizzle in Sac, though? I’m not buying it.
In the end, my guess is Baron will not opt out, walking away from the $17.8M he’s due next season. Instead, the Warriors will add on a few years to the end of his contract, maybe three years for $15 per. He would be set for four years and $63 million, and in a place he likes. That’s hard to top.
If I were Mullin, and Baron has already expressed he would stay with the Warriors, I would get him to opt out and free up cap space. That way, the Warriors can make a run at another big-time player — one of those restricted free agents (Iguodala, Okafor, Deng) or, even better, Brand, if he indeed opts out — and then re-sign Baron. Instead of tacking on three years at $15 per, I’d give him a four-year deal at $16 million per, which is $64 million total. Not only would he have the help he needs, especially if they could get someone like Brand, but he would come out with a little extra money.