With the signing of Carl Landry and the expected re-signing of Brandon Rush, the Warriors have 15 guys under contract. Perhaps more important, they;ll have little-to-no money left under the $70.3M luxury tax threshold.
Does that spell the end of Dominic McGuire’s tenure with the Warriors?
If so, many Golden State fans who came to love his defensive intensity and versatility will not be happy. McGuire rose from last-ditch free agent signing a year ago to beloved glue guy who many feel is a must-keep. Golden State has been on a kick to add size, defense and rebounding. Well, they’ve added some size. They drafted a big perimeter guy in Harrison Barnes and legit big man in Festus Ezeli. Rookie forward Draymond Green figures to help out on the boards since he was a noted rebounder in college. The Warriors also signed rookie guard Kent Bazemore, who has the tools to be a great perimeter defender.
Still, McGuire would probably be the best defender on the Warriors’ current roster. His ability to play both forward positions and defend even guards won over head coach Mark Jackson last season. But the Warriors’ moves this offseason indicates they aren’t as high on McGuire as many of their fans. They’ve taken a wait-and-see approach with McGuire, chasing other priorities first. Well, now that the Warriors have checked off their wishlist items (presuming they sign Rush), they can re-visit McGuire.
So, what would it take to keep him?
First off, my numbers crunching has the Warriors’ salary at about $67.15 million. That’s with Carl Landry having a first-year salary of $4 million and rookie Draymond Green, who also signed Monday, with a first-year salary of $850,000 (that’s an estimation). That leaves the Warriors with about $3.15 million below the luxury tax to sign Brandon Rush. So at the very least, Golden State will be right at the tax threshold after they sign Rush. So it would take some work to keep McGuire.
* The Warriors could sign Dominic McGuire and go over the luxury tax threshold. At this point, McGuire (who clearly hasn’t gotten any big offers) would probably take a deal for about a million in the first year. Golden State would then have until the trade deadline to get under the tax and avoid the penalty (which is applied based on end of year salary cap numbers). That would give the Warriors a few months to figure out how to get below the tax line.
* The Warriors could sign McGuire to a non-guaranteed contract (if he’s willing to take one). That would delay the decision until the start of the season. If it turns out the Warriors don’t need McGuire because rookie Draymond Green fills that role, the Warriors can waive McGuire in time for him to sign with another team. If the Warriors wind up deciding they need McGuire, they could then make a few other moves, such as waive Kent Bazemore, who has a non-guaranteed contract, and trade Jeremy Tyler for a traded player exception.
* The Warriors could trade Tyler now to create room under the tax to keep McGuire. Tyler is promising young talent. But with David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Carl Landry and Draymond Green, he’s probably bound for Santa Cruz. He hasn’t developed as well as the Warriors would like and it would take a huge camp for him to earn some minutes in the rotation
* Buyout Andris Biedrins or Richard Jefferson. Combined, they will make more than $19 million next season. Biedrins is due $9 million each of the next two seasons. Jefferson is due $10.16M this season and $11.05 million next season. The Warriors would have to get either one of them to take less money for their freedom. Biedrins might do it because he sees limited playing time with the Warriors. Jefferson might do it so he can go sign with a contender. The Warriors would have to get Biedrins to take about $7 million or less to make it worth their while (Biedrins would make some of that back if he signs for vet minimum). Jefferson is a little trickier since he could potentially be the starter and Jackson seems to like what Jefferson brings to the table. But he doesn’t seem to be overjoyed with playing for the Warriors. It would only make sense for the Warriors if he’s willing to take a $17 million buyout on the $21 million he’s owed. Either one would free up a at least couple million in cap space (and maybe get fans off the Warriors back for completely blowing the amnesty, using it on Charlie Bell’s one-year, $4 million contract). However, if you’re Biedrins or Jefferson, you’re never getting this kind of money again.