No doubt Dominic McGuire wants to stay with Golden State.
Aside from publicly saying as much, he is regularly at the practice facility, working out with other Warriors. He is buying a house in the Bay Area, making this his home base. And according to a source with knowledge of his situation, McGuire — though an unrestricted free agent — has informed the Warriors he will give them the chance match any offer before he signs it.
Certainly, many Warriors fans want McGuire back after falling in love with his toughness, defense and versatility. But McGuire’s camp is well aware his days with Golden State may be over, a casualty of a numbers game.
The Warriors have two small forwards under contract (Richard Jefferson and Dorell Wright). They just drafted another small forward, North Carolina sophomore Harrison Barnes, with the No. 7 overall pick. On top of that, the Warriors have made their top priority of the offseason re-signing swingman Brandon Rush, a restricted free agent who was often Mark Jackson’s favorite small forward last season.
That’s four players at one position. Adding McGuire back into the fold, it seems, would require moving one of those four.
What’s more, the Warriors have visions of McGuire playing power forward in a small lineup. He would serve as point-forward to take advantage of the shooting prowess of starting guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But rookie Draymond Green, who the Warriors drafted No. 35, is supposed to be able to do some of that. Then there is the issue of money.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Golden State has about $4 million left before reaching the dreaded luxury tax territory. But the Warriors have other pressing needs, such as frontline help and a veteran back-up guard.
Can they fill those two holes and still have money leftover for McGuire without paying the luxury tax? It would probably take a trade. That’s the one way the Warriors can relieve the clog at small forward, fill one of their needs and possibly cut a little money off the cap.
The Warriors really want Rush and they just drafted Barnes, so Jefferson or Wright would be the obvious ones to go. But Jefferson’s contract (two years, $21.2 million left) would be tough to move. That leaves Wright, who has one year left for $4.1 million, as the most logical player to move.
If Golden State moved Wright for a back-up point guard, especially one that makes $3 million or less, that would help McGuire’s cause. Of course, if Rush gets a huge offer elsewhere and the Warriors decide not to match, that also opens a door for McGuire.
Either way, it looks as if some things need to be shuffled around to make room for McGuire, both on the roster and on the books. That’s going to take some time.
Meanwhile, several teams are interested in McGuire, according to the source. None more than Minnesota, which wants to pair McGuire with Nicolas Batum — Portland’s restricted free agent who the Timberwolves signed to an offer sheet.
Fortunately for the Warriors, McGuire’s camp knows his market won’t be set until after the big names land. So he is prepared to wait, which works in Golden State’s favor.