Warriors have waived center Mikki Moore, who is out after surgery to repair bone spurs in his right heel. The simple reason: they cut Moore to keep Chris Hunter, the center they called up from the D-League. The explanation, though, gets convoluted, and it likely means no other player will be added.
Pretty much, the league made the Warriors to make a decision on Chris Hunter before contracts become guaranteed on Jan. 10.
Remember, Hunter was added as an injury exemption. The Warriors have to re-apply every two weeks to keep Hunter on the roster. But his contract was going to become guaranteed on Sunday. The league would not allow the Warriors to carry 16 guaranteed contracts.
Certainly, Warriors GM Larry Riley would loved to have kept Hunter as a non-guaranteed injury exception. That way, if the situation changes and the Warriors don’t need the exemption anymore, they wouldn’t have been on the hook to pay Hunter for the whole year. But the league wasn’t going for it. The max is 15 guaranteed contracts. No exceptions.
That left them with two options: Cut Chris Hunter or cut Mikki Moore.
The Warriors could have cut Hunter and signed him back on a 10-day contract, but that was too risky. He would have had to clear waivers for 48 hours before the Warriors could re-sign him to a 10-day. Another team (such as Portland) was likely to swoop him up. And if the Warriors lost Hunter and Ronny Turiaf or Andris Biedrins got hurt again, then you’re looking at Vlad Radmanovic as the starting center.
So the Warriors chose the other option – cut Mikki and eat the rest of the $1.3 million he had coming to him (which they were going to do anyway, since he’s probably not coming back this season). As a result, Hunter is here for the rest of season under a guaranteed contract. No more injury exemption.
Mikki gave the Warriors way more than they expected before succumbing to a painful foot injury, which he had surgery on Dec. 18 and was said to be out at least three months. He started 20 of his 23 appearances. He averaged 5.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 17.7 minutes. His midrange J and his locker room presence were his biggest attributes.
The Warriors likely won’t request another exception now. CORRECTION: Looked into it further (told you it was diluted) and the Warriors could request another injury pass from the league since they still fit the requirements (four guys out and not expected back for at least three weeks). They could then use the exception to sign a player, say Cartier Martin, to a 10-day contract. The rules allow teams to sign a player to a maximum of two 10-day contracts before they have to release him or sign him for the rest of the year. But that only buys the Warriors 20 days. (I guess they could keep signing a new guy to two 10-day contracts, but that would be a lot of work.)
Since the league won’t allow them to carry a non-guaranteed injury exception past Friday, they would have to cut another player in order to keep him for the rest of the season The problem with cutting someone else (namely Speedy Claxton, Devean George or Raja Bell) is they are more valuable as expiring contracts in a potential trade. The trade deadline is just over a month away. Claxton’s $5.2 million expiring contract and George’s $1.6 million expiring contract are perfect deal sweeteners, especially when combined. Ditto for Raja Bell. But the Warriors want to keep him anyway, so cutting him is definitely out. (It would’ve been nice if they had Mikki to throw in there, too. But they’d rather have Hunter, obviously, than an extra $1.3 million in expiring contracts to shop around.)
So, unless things get desperate and they need a guy just for a few weeks, adding a player is unlikely.