Don’t expect the Warriors to sign anyone when the NBA’s moratorium lifts on Wednesday.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said the Warriors have been aggressive in their pursuit of players. He said they even came close on a few players. But nothing is imminent. Myers said the Warriors will continue the aggressive pursuit, but caustiously.
“We’ve been very focused with things that line up with what we need,” Myers said. “We’re in it, but we’re prudently in it. … We are not going to do a bad deal.”
Perhaps what matters most is that the Warriors can be even more aggressive now that they’ve agreed to trade small forward Dorell Wright, according to league sources. In exchange, the Warriors will receive a $4.1 million trade exception and the rights to Edin Bavcic, a 28-year-old Bosnian power forward who will likely never play for the Warriors.
Most important, though, was that the Warriors dumped Wright’s salary, giving them some $8 million of breathing room below the luxury tax line. The Warriors can now re-sign restricted free agent swingman Brandon Rush and sign two free agents without paying a penalty.
The Wright trade can’t become official until Wednesday. But trading Wright, the starting small forward the last two seasons, frees up the Warriors to use the $5 million mid-level exception and the $2 million bi-annual exception. The Warriors are much more attractive now with the full mid-level to work with, and still have room to add a roster filler. That opens up the pool of prospective players for the Warriors.
What’s more, the trade exception can be used to add another player. That’s unlikely since the Warriors don’t want to pay the luxury tax. But it’s good for a calendar year and could come in handy at the trade deadline. (No, it can’t be combined with another salary to get a big-money player).
* Speaking of luxury tax, the Warriors are apparently willing to pay the luxury tax. Just not now. And just not for marginal players.
In other words, if the Warriors could trade for Andre Iguodala right now, and it would put them in the tax zone, Lacob would sign off. Would they do it for Ronnie Price? Nope.
* The Warriors could very well end up with some pretty good talent at a pretty good price. Why? The market has been flooded with talent thanks to the renouncement of several notables. O.J. Mayo. Aaron Brooks. Jerryd Bayless. J.J. Hickson. Courtney Lee. They all were going to be restricted free agents until their team withdrew their qualifying offer. Now they’re all unrestricted.
They add more talent to the pool while also eating up available salary cap space. That means there is a good chance some really talented player (who the Warriors wouldn’t have otherwise had a shot at) could end up available in the Warriors’ price range.
* The Warriors are going to sign Brandon Rush. The only question is whether they will be matching an offer sheet or will the two sides hash out a deal on their own. As it stands now, Golden State has basically given Rush the space to go get an offer sheet. The fact that the Warriors haven’t given an offer to Rush yet means they don’t believe he’s going to get a huge offer sheet on the market.
Golden State is in a much better negotiating position if Rush comes back without a signed offer sheet. Since Rush’s qualifying offer (about $4.4 million) is in the ballpark of what they’re willing to sign him to, Golden State doesn’t have to be in a rush to lock him up. Because they got Wright’s salary off the books, the Warriors can go out and sign someone using the mid-level exception and still re-sign Rush.
*It also means the Warriors’ other free agents, namely Dominic McGuire and Nate Robinson, will remain in limbo. The likelihood of both coming back is almost nil. If the Warriors re-sign Rush, add a player with the full mid-level and sign someone with the bi-annual exception, they’re all tapped out. That means McGuire and Robinson would likely be renounced.
However, if the Warriors sign someone for less than the mid-level, they would have a little room. Or, if after re-signing Rush and signing someone to the mid-level, they could decide to keep McGuire or Robinson (smart money’s on McGuire) and not sign another free agent.