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Warriors Forced to Be Patient, Hope For Something to Fall in Their Lap

The NBA moratorium ends tomorrow, meaning free agents can officially sign contracts and offer sheets, and the Warriors aren’t close to signing anyone.

Some of it is a result of getting stiff-armed by a few players. Some of it is a calculated decision to be patient. Either way, it seems to be shaping out to not be the worst thing in the world.

The Warriors are still in need of front court help, a back-up point guard and a veteran who can score off the bench. They’re probably going to have to try to fill those voids with two players instead of three, considering their limited funds. The Warriors best play just might be to sit back while the wheeling and dealing is rampant, then see what is leftover. Based on the luck of new general manager Bob Myers (who won a tie-breaker, wound up keeping the No. 7 pick, and had Harrison Barnes fall to him in the lottery), it’s not far fetched to think the Warriors could find a gem toward the end of July. You know how it goes. There’ll be some players who didn’t get the offers he thought he deserved, decided to hold out for something better and ended up settling for a bargain price after all the money is dried up. That’s when the Warriors can swoop in.

That seems to be the best play. Because the Warriors simply have two many obstacles to be a real player on the free agent market. For a few reasons, waiting is just the best play.

* They don’t have the money. Despite having the mid-level and the bi-annual exception to spend, Golden State’s salary cap figure is at about $66 million. If they used the full mid-level exception and the bi-annual exception right now, that could put them close to $73 million. That would be a $3 million luxury tax penalty. So if the Warriors are to avoid the tax, which it is clear Lacob wants to do, they can only spend about $4 million of the mid-level.

(SIDE NOTE: Why is Joe Lacob willing spend a couple million for the rights to Jeremy Tyler, willing to add extra salary for Richard Jefferson all to get a first-round pick, willing to pay $500 million for a new arena, but not willing to pay a few million in luxury tax? … Perhaps, if there was a player Myers really loved and would make the difference, he would. But it’s just odd to hear the big spender worrying about a couple million.)

* They don’t have the appeal. Some of their targets clearly just didn’t want to play for Golden State. Andre Miller, Jason Kidd, Kirk Hinrich since they accepted deals the Warriors could afford with another team (Miller in Denver, Kidd inNew York, Hinrich in Chicago).

* Dorell Wright doesn’t have much value. It figured Wright, a productive player who at the very least is a good reserve, would be an attractive piece. Throw in an expiring contract (albeit worth just four million), you’d think the Warriors would have some takes. But as it’s turned out, Wright has little to no trade value. He wasn’t enough to help the Warriors move up in the draft, nor enough to help the Warriors fill some of the holes they have. Perhaps his value will increase after teams have spent all their cap space and is looking for a nice piece to add at a good price. Then, Golden State may be able to use Wright to get a point guard or a back-up big man, then use their available salary cap space for another player.

It’s all adding up for the Warriors to sit it out early on and hope some edible scraps are left over. But based on the prices (Ryan Anderson got $9 million per year; Brandon Roy got $10 million with bad knees), that certainly isn’t the worst thing.

Marcus Thompson

  • http://Yahoo! PeteyBrian

    Thanks Marcus!
    Also factored into this is the W’s waiting for Brandon Rush’s potential offer soon to come – which helps dictate what they are going to do to fill out the remaining roster. Who knows – maybe Brandon draws a Landry Fields or larger offer forcing the team to either match or let Rush go for nothing in return.

  • jabernak

    I surmise the intent to stay below the luxury tax threshold is largely due to the loss of player acquisition flexibility for taxpaying teams (per the 2011 CBA):
    -loss of the full midlevel exception ($3M instead of $5M)
    -loss of the biannual exception
    -greater restriction on salaries taken back in a trade (125% vs 150%)
    -sign and trade restriction if $4M+ over

    Strategically, it seems wiser to save that flexibility for when the team is a proven contender and trying to push over the top; or the opportunity comes up to acquire (and keep) a true difference maker/franchise player. At that point the tax and its associated restrictions may be worthwhile. Right now they’re just trying to accumulate talent/assets and should value that flexibility.

    Also, it’s likely we won’t have a draft pick in 2013 (Williams and Lee trades), so the full midlevel exception will be of greater importance in adding talent to the team next summer. Of course they may go out and buy a draft pick, but that practice is now limited to $3m in total annually.

  • Marcus Thompson

    Jabernak,

    Excellent points