Warriors Inexplicably Give Up $5.2M Expiring Contract

I have not talked to GM Larry Riley, so I haven’t gotten his explanation. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is his first unadulterated bad decision as a GM.

The rest of his moves, I understand the reasoning. I may not have done them, but I get the logic. The Warriors made room for forward Anthony Tolliver on the roster by waiving point guard Speedy Claxton, who is injured and hasn’t played all season. Yes, they did. Giving up Claxton’s $5.2 million expiring contract, a valuable bartering tool, 12 days before the trade deadline for an NBA Development League call-up is just bad.



I don’t get the logic behind it. The contracts of Claxton and Raja Bell ($5.25) gave the Warriors $10 million worth of expiring contracts to use on the trade market. Throw in Devean George ($1.6), and the Warriors had $12 million to trade with.

Maybe Riley read the trade room and realized he wasn’t going to make a trade. Maybe there just isn’t a market for expiring contracts, usually a hot commodity, so he decided he could do just as much with only about $7 million worth instead of $12.¬† Maybe he is infatuated with forward Anthony Tolliver, or center Chris Hunter. If all those are true, you still keep the expiring contract.

The Warriors have now given up $6.5 million in expiring contracts to keep NBA Development League call-ups. Don’t forget, they gave up Mikki Moore’s $1.3 million expiring contact to keep Hunter.

Here were three, I think, much better options, in order of preference:

* Let Tolliver go and sign a different D-Leaguer to a 10-day contract. Tolliver’s got some skill, but he’s in the D-League for a reason. He’s not a difference maker. He’s not going to win games for the Warriors this year or next year. He’s averaging 5.3 rebounds in 25.2 minutes, which is nothing to go insane over. He’s 4-for-28 from 3-point range (14.3 percent), which means he probably can’t fit in Nellie’s system anyway, which needs the PF to shoot the 3 to spread¬† the floor. Nellie doesn’t play Vlad because he’s shooting 26.7 percent! Tolliver is a nice young player, but there are plenty more out there.

* Cut Chris Hunter. It’s much easier to eat the $199K they will be paying Hunter for the rest of the season than to cash in a valuable chip. Hunter has proven that this is not the team for him. He’s not rebounding (1.8 in 10.2 minutes), he’s not finishing (46.4 percent) and he doesn’t run the floor well enough. He’s good against huge centers, good relative to what the Warriors have. But keeping him around for Marc Gasol is hardly worth it. There was a reason Keith Smart didn’t play him. Now Nellie is not playing him.

* Cut Devean George. He is a great guy and a super professional. But cashing in a $1.6 million expiring contract is easier to swallow than a $5.2 million one. You’d probably be doing George a favor by cutting him and picking up another 10-day guy. Go get Reggie Williams or Alexander Johnson.

Marcus Thompson

  • It’s even worse than that- they could have just waited for ten days, half of which are DAYS OFF and just signed Tolliver then.

    It’s like being dealt five cards in poker and saying “I’ll give this one back- four is all I’ll need”.

  • Can’t even fathom this right now. This seems like one of those times you choose the wrong option by mistake and try to reverse it really quick, but there is no reversing this. At this point the Warriors front office can’t really do many things worse than they are right now with all of the injuries, shuffling in and out of D-league players, and not winning any games, but really this was one of those things. As a fan this was my glimmer of hope that we could use all of our expiring money(when the cap will probably be reduced in the coming seasons) and get something of value for having to watch a horrendous couple of years.

  • kade

    Its simply as to why Larry Riley let the expiring contract go , the Warriors don’t care about winning, all of their decisions are based on the financial impact. they are not committed to winning but rather profitability.

    As long as the fans continue to go to Oracle Warriors mgmt isn’t motivated to put a winning team on the floor.

  • Son of Ahmed

    The franchise has given up. The patient has no pulse.

  • Thom

    I can’t say I am surprised. How will they spin this one. Pathetic franchise is not worth my time. F you Cohan, Rowell, Nelson and Riley. Worst collection of ‘basketball’ people ever assembled.

  • some guy

    typical Warriors.

    and i agree with everything else except the Keith Smart thing (b/c you make it sound like it was a good thing Hunter played less than Mikki Moore).

    Smart played Moore for 20.3 mpg vs his 15.5 mpg under Nellie. the same Mikki Moore who has statistically performed worse than a D-Leaguers Hunter & Tolliver and the W’s are a net -15.4 points in his minutes at center. That is epic bad. As loony as Nellie is, at least under Nellie Mikki’s minutes declined.

    If Smart couldn’t even see how badly Moore was hurting the team on a history making level while he was on the court vs the “crappy but nowhere near as bad as Mikki” production of Ant Randolph & Hunter, then it’s clear the only way he’s going to succeed as a HC is with Lebron or someone of that caliber on his roster. Basically, almost every time Mikki was in the game, the other team was outscoring them – and often blowing them out.

    and Mikki may not have been as bad if he were healthier, but that doesn’t excuse Smart from playing Mikki so much when the results were so bad and he had better options – no matter how crappy those options were, they were still 15x better than having an injured Mikki out there.

    That one move made it obvious that the next coaching hire should come from outside the organization.

  • jsl

    SOA got it right.

    This latest stupidity just means the Warriors are giving up — and won’t trade their valuable expirings for fresh talent.

    In short, they forced their own hand in doing nothing.

    So, while cutting Hunter was the easy answer and left us with a ton of trade options, we’re now officially dead.

    Oh, well. Ever the goofball FO. And this joker Riley’s really something, isn’t he?

  • Belvis

    This is beyond ridiculous. What adjective comes after ridiculous?

  • Mullin Fan

    Unfortunatly SOA got it right. Everytime you think it can’t get any worse. I do think the Randolph injury will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Had he been coming back this year or if had made more money, Riley would have traded him for a Devean George type player. Every Riley move has ranged from Bad to Awful.

    On the Smart thing mentioned by #2. I couldn’t agree more. His coaching was so bad in Cleveland it allowed them to get LaBron James. He was equally terrible this year for the points you make. Who knows if it weren’t for Nelson coming back and the Nets he could have put the Warriors in position for John Wall. Next Coach/GM etc all need to come outside Organization.

  • Burke

    That’s pretty sad. Removes all the dreaming of trading for Igudala, etc. What else was there to be excited about this season? I guess Riley has already given up making a big trade this season.

    One way this sort of makes sense: this season is already a lost cause. Unless you could snag a multi-year player, why try and gussy up this season? Just take some lumps and get a good draft pick. It doesn’t help that most of the trade bait is injured. Even Randolph’s trade value has dropped because of injury. If you are going to have to add young talent to any interesting deal, who can you add that isn’t injured?

  • ALsMouthGuard

    Should this be any surprise? Larry Riley is a joke. The Warriors front office is a joke. It’s becoming laughable now, it’s just expected.


    HEY WARRIOR FANS — If you don’t BOYCOTT this f-cking joke of a front office, who SH-TS all over their fans year after year. You are just as bad as Cohan.

    BOYCOTT these f-cking clowns. Why the f-ck do I see idiots in the stands at Oracle, giving Cohan absolutely no incentive to sell.





  • Raven

    wake up people…..this is not about building a winning franchise.

    it’s all about cost cutting and saving money for Cohan.
    This is not a real NBA franchise…even the clippers do not stoop this low.

    only MORONS! would support this franchise and buy tickets to the game. At least these sports writers are getting paid to report on this crappy wanna be franchise.

  • ALsMouthGuard

    Raven, exactly. I hear so many “fans” the call me a hater because I say do not support this organization. Fans, shouldn’t have to support anybody. The players will not be hurt if people do not go to games. They get paid Millions either way. I’m sure they want this organization to suck, so people are really helping their team by going to the games. It’s really not that hard, but there are so many people that just do not care.

  • A’s in 2010

    Just another stupid move by GM Larry Riley.

    We traded Belinelli for… nothing.

    We gave NJ a free 2nd round pick and lowered the protections on a future 1st for… what turns out NO REASON at all.

    Oh and we passed on trading CJ for ORL 1st. Had we done that trade we wouldn’t have to re-do the NJ trade, which we didn’t have to do.

    We passed on expiring contracts for Jackson so we can be stuck with VLadRads deal, all because Larry Riley thought Raja Bell would re-sign here.

    What an idiot.

  • JohnStarks

    You’d think David Stern would be compelled to step in and do something about one of his franchises that is clearly being (has been) run into the ground. I would expect him to broker a deal between Ellison and Cohan just to keep Cohan from turning away any more fans. Unfortunately, the Dubs fans are so loyal, they continue to pay for this horrendous disaster thereby eliminating Stern’s need to give a damn.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if they trade Monta I will be permanently finished with the Cohan-led Warriors. It’s suprising that I still care enough to sit down and hammer out a post about this team.

    I pray to all that is holy that Cohan (or whomever is ruining this franchise) disappears forever. He already lost his investment. He should take his loss and move on and stop ruining millions of peoples’ chance at having fun watching their hometown NBA team.

    If this was 1965, Ellison would have made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, or simply whacked him out.

  • Jeremy

    Is it really inexplicable? More like standard…. Boycott the games, merchandise, parking, concessions and anything else that gives them money till Cohan sells.

  • petaluman

    Weren’t we just saying that it’s hard to trade injured players? Speedy is injured-till-he-retires injured. I’m inclined to agree with Marcus’ supposition that Riley ‘read the trade room’, and saw there were a lot of available expiring contracts more desirable than Speedy’s. In fact, they probably all were.

    For those who seem to see this as a cost-cutting maneuver, it doesn’t actually save them anything. In hindsight, we could say that they should have cut him a long time ago, just for the roster spot. They didn’t wait till now thinking he would get on the court again – they were hoping to use him in a trade. For whatever reason, that no longer appeared to be an option, so Speedy is history.

    I’m somewhat skeptical that we will pull off a trade before the deadline, but this move doesn’t prevent it. Did you really think someone was going to give us a 12M player for Devean George, a player we can’t even get a health update on (Bell), and a retired player? Any meaningful trade will require at least one useful player going out.

  • petaluman

    BTW, Marcus, I see that Rusty reported that Riley said we’re looking for a player in the 10-14M range. I don’t see a team trading anything we would want in that range for just our expirings. It likely means one of the big 3 (Ellis, Biedrins, Maggette) is what we’re building trade packages around, with George or Bell added to lower the overall cost to the other team.

  • Ridiculous

    WAKE THE HELL UP WARRIOR FANS, Boycott this team. Why in the hell are there still 17 – 19k people still attending theses games?? You are as stupid as Cohan. You are an obvious idiot if you still go to these games.

  • Son of Ahmed

    Your plausible explanations of epic fail are always encouraging. Thank you. I feel much better. You’re right, we can’t expect the Warriors to make transactions that are lopsided or beyond the realm of possibility. Only teams like the Lakers and Celtics do that.

    If the Warriors are going to trade players for expiring contracts or trade exceptions, I don’t think its unreasonable for fans to expect the organization to do something with them.

  • Marques8

    If we pull off a trade before the deadline, we will be dumping salary. Getting rid of Speedy is still dumping salary. Expiring contracts are one way to add players; being under the cap so you can take a player with a higher salary is another. One thing for sure, they are not going to be adding water to this sinking boat at the trade deadline. At the trade deadline, teams that have a shot overspend. Perhaps the Ws will benefit from that.

  • Marques8

    I think the Ws will make some signficant moves, but I don’t think it will be until summer. If they move a veteran at the deadline, it will likely be for more expiring contracts, which they won’t use to trade, but to expire. My bet is the goal is to be a player this summer by being a team with cap room to spare. Teams in the Warriors shape don’t add a big name at the deadline.

  • Eric

    Have to agree with Petaluman. this team isn’t going anywhere, 13-36, and if a trade did happen that player probably would be unhappy and not want to come here. An expiring contract for a player who doesn’t want to be here won’t help the team much. If the Dubs had a winning record and more of a solid foundation this move would be a little more of an issue.

  • Whack-a-Dub

    “You can’t have a hostile takeover of a franchise”
    If it wasnt for curry, dubs nation would be gone for good, Cohan has made so many cuts for himself, and here is his newest puppet, riley, blabbering about how Cohan “needs” more and more cuts to “survive the harsh economy” that doesn’t affect the rich because of reaganomics. What bullshit. I wish Stan Van Gundy was told about this. He wouldn’t be afraid to cuss cohan out in public.

  • KNC

    There is a game on February 8th. Please BOYCOTT by not going to this game!

  • Whack-A-Dub

    There is a game on February 10th. Please BOYCOTT by not going to this game! (ft. the return of Baron Davis and All-star C. Kaman; Ellis is out with a sprained knee after playing 48 minutes almost every game this season and the management not giving a shit what happens)

  • Swear

    typical warrior move… keep our team in the lottery forever to save a few bucks.