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Morrow, Watson are Tendered Qualifying Offers; Tolliver, Hunter aren’t

The Warriors have extended qualifying offers to both guards Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson. Morrow’s qualifying offer is a one-year deal worth $1.029 million. Watson’s is for one year, $1.25 million.

Being tendered qualifying offers mean both guards will be restricted free agents come Wednesday at 9:01 p.m. In order to have the right to match any offer sheet they would sign (despite the salary cap), the Warriors first needed to extend a minimum contract (plus bonus) to the Warriors. Not extending the qualifying offer is the equivalent to the Warriors’ waiving their rights to the player.

That is what happened with power forward Anthony Tolliver and center Chris Hunter. The Warriors did not tender them qualifying offers, giving up their right to match. Tolliver and Hunter will both be unrestricted free agents.

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So what does that mean for Morrow and Watson?

It means that the Warriors have some control over their destiny and possibly have limited the amount they can coupe this offseason. Both Morrow and Watson have said they want to return to the Warriors but will also see what options are out there for them on the market. If another team signs them to an offer sheet, the Warriors have 7 days to match or top the offer.

Watson knows this process all too well. It’s his second-consecutive offseason going through it. Last summer, Watson was a restricted free agent. But he could not get a team to sign him to an offer sheet because the Warriors made it known they would match. Watson had designs on playing for Orlando, which was in need of a back-up point guard. But Orlando, knowing the Warriors would match, never extended an official offer to Watson. Signing a player to an offer sheet locks up that salary cap space until the team with the rights makes the decision. The Magic didn’t want their salary cap space locked up for seven days, especially knowing the Warriors would match anyway.

The Warriors turned down a sign-and-trade offer from Orlando. And Watson turned down a three-year, $5.4 million contract offer from the Warriors, settling for the $1 million qualifying offer he was tendered last June. Normally, that would make a player an unrestricted free agent the following season. But a team retains the right to restrict players who have three seasons or fewer experience in the league.

Watson may not have to worry this time about the Warriors being so adamant about keeping him. If Watson gets a contract offer from another team, especially if it’s of significant value, don’t be surprised if the Warriors let him walk. The rise of point guard Stephen Curry, the acquisition of veteran point guard Charlie Bell, and holes at the SF position, make it easier for the Warriors to not match. Not to mention the minutes Monta Ellis is sure to see at PG.

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Morrow is another story. Though Ellis expects to dominate minutes at SG, Morrow can play some at small forward, as he did last season, so minutes still exisit for him. The Warriors certainly still have an affinity for Morrow, the sharp-shooter they discovered and groomed. With that said, if Morrow secures a sizeable offer from another team, such as a multi-year deal at the mid-level rate (figured to fall between $5-$6 million), it would make for a tough decision.

Golden State isn’t working with much wiggle room as far as salary cap space. Is it worth it to use  it on Morrow, who plays a position at which the Warriors are deep? The presence of Ellis, the emergence of Reggie Williams, the plans to add a true SF, all give Warriors reason for pause – especially if Kelenna Azubuike returns to form. Still, because of his special skill and work ethic and status as a fan favorite, losing Morrow could be risky.

The Warriors also liked Tolliver, especially coach Don Nelson. But the minutes available for him are scarce at best with the drafting of Baylor power forward Ekpe Udoh. Ditto for Hunter with the acquisition of center Dan Gadzuric of Milwaukee.

Marcus Thompson

  • Tdubb

    Marcus,

    Who are you hearing as a possible SF acquisition, other than Gay and Igodula. With all the named free agents talk, I am not seeing a trade partner especially for a vet player.

    Any talk of who will play for the Dubb’s summer league squad with no Tolliver or Hunter?

  • DKnight007

    It’s the irrelevent and LOUUUUSSYYY WARRIORS!

    LOL!

  • @danbarbata

    Why not sign Tolliver? I think Tolliver is better than Udoh, which really annoys me. Also, just saw that the Nets gave Yi Jianlian away to the Wizards. I would have traded the #6 pick for Jianlian straight up. Would you rather have Jianlian + Tolliver or Udoh?

  • baysportsblood

    I prefer Tolliver over Udoh. Jus sayin. I lovvvvve Morrow, but isn’t he kind of a luxury for a team with such huge holes and with limited talent? If I were GM of the Warriors I’d be shopping him with a big contract to get talent in return. He would make an amazing addition to a playoff team, and we could get value for him. You don’t get to add on the high end features until you get the basics covered. That being said, I would take him at the shooting guard position next to Curry if we could trade Monta for a good center or small forward. I read that Minnesota simply wants cap relief for Jefferson… Don’t we have that in expiring contracts?

  • Twinkie defense

    Why the heck did CJ turn down that 3-year deal from the Warriors…

  • A’s in 2010

    Because CJ doesn’t want to be here.

  • RamboDave

    Warriors cut the D-Leagers?

    I hope everyone realizes that it was the D-Leagers that won those last few games of the season for us. All, so that Nellie could get the record. And… the result, Sacramento moved ahead of us in the draft, and took Cousins. Only one game seperated us from Sacramento in the draft order.

    What would you rather have, the record for Nellie, or the 5th pick in the draft?

    Now, the Warrios have cut both Tolliver and Hunter, the very people that got the record for Nellie.

    I wish that they would have kept Hunter. He is better than Biedrins. And now …. we end up with Gadzureach ?

    This is an insult to our intelligence! Why couldn’t we have been smarter like Sacramento?

  • Ron Wilton

    I cant believe that the Warriors are so smug, and knowledgeable about talent that they are more than willing to just let both Tolliver and Hunter become unrestricted free agents.

    In my opinion both players proved that they belong in the NBA….Mark my words, some team will sign them both…Once again the Warriors are the D-league for the rest of the league.

  • Ron Wilton

    Hunter and Tolliver proved they belonged in the NBA, and both played with more passion than half the veteran guys in this watered-down NBA, which aint half as exciting to watch as it used to be. At the worst, we could have signed and packaged these two guys (Tolliver and Hunter) in a trade for cap space or future picks!

  • Ron Wilton

    My final thought…..

    When Randolph or Wright, or our center, ABeidrins, gets injured, like they do EVERY YEAR, we will have wished that we had kept Tolliver and Hunter. Gadzuric over Tolliver or Hunter? PLEASE……..

    And finally…..Who really cares about the “soft” salary cap anyway? The teams that want(AND DO)to compete in the playoffs each year, the upper-echelon teams, just consider it a cost of “being successful”. So what if they spend a few million more, and get penalized a few million?

    I am so sick and tired of us undervaluing our players, and cannot wait for the team to be sold….and for a REAL coach…perhaps someone like AL ATTLES, to take over the reins, and lead this team once again to the promised land of the NBA championship, just like he did in 1975-6!

  • Cranky Teacher

    I am confused — wasn’t plucking Tolliver and Hunter (along with Williams) from the D-League supposed to be the silver lining of this horrible season?

    Guess that was just a smokescreen storyline…

  • dew

    AT44 is terrible. JUST terrible. I understand as a warrior fan myself that there is always a tendency to let your standards sliiiiiiiiide way down, but CMON! AT44 is not an NBA PF. He is like an incredibly crappy Al Harrington, who we know is, INCREDIBLY crappy himself. AT44 is just another skinny, 3-point line standing, No O-Reb grabbing loser who had a few statistically good games created by the magic of the skewed stats of Nellieball. What the dubs really should be doing is getting bwright and AR4 some health supplements or something? calcium pills or some Centrum maybe? We’d have some pretty solid PFs if they were healthy some of the time…

  • imani kashaka

    I think Tolliver and Hunter have earned the chance to compete in summer league. After all, when the Dubs were struggling trying to get a couple healthy players these guys performed admirably. Tolliver should be a Warrior so stop trying to get someone from another team who may not perform in this system. Plus he comes cheap! Attendance was among the highest too.