Baron, with the mini ‘fro and sweat dripping from the rugged beard beneath his mean mug, walked over to C.J. Watson and leaned in with fists balled. He faked a few body blows as C.J. curled up on the bench smiling, trying to block and dodge Baron’s air punches.
Davis wound up sitting down next to Watson and getting an update on the Warriors happenings.
Archive for the 'Baron Davis' Category
Baron, with the mini ‘fro and sweat dripping from the rugged beard beneath his mean mug, walked over to C.J. Watson and leaned in with fists balled. He faked a few body blows as C.J. curled up on the bench smiling, trying to block and dodge Baron’s air punches.
The Warriors cleared up some of the gluttony in the backcourt. I just confirmed through a team source that Marco Belinelli has indeed been traded to Toronto for swingman Devean George, as Yahoo Sports reported earlier.
So, the latest from behind the blue-and-orange velvet rope (I know some of you will hate the soap opera element of this blog post. Sorry). More details about Tim Kawakami’s post from early Friday.
Warriors coach Don Nelson — according to multiple team sources — in a meeting the day after the road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 23, told guard Jamal Crawford that if he doesn’t opt out at the end of the year, the Warriors are going to trade him this offseason.
Yes, he actually told him that.
The Warriors have thrown their hat into the ring for Suns All-Star PF Amare Stoudemire, who is available if the NBA insider scuttle is to be believed. According to a team source, the Warriors have and likely will continue to have talks with the Suns about a deal.
(UPDATE: My man Tim Kawakami’s hearing the same thing.)
I haven’t gotten word yet on who they have offered. While they would probably love swingman Corey Maggette to be a part of any deal, one would figure there is no conversation without the names Andris Biedrins or Monta Ellis coming up. That’s the minimum of what Phoenix would want in return. The Warriors have to know that going in, which likely means they are willing to move either of their two once-untouchable centerpieces.
There are problems, though.
The Warriors don’t have a player Phoenix would take who isn’t locked up for a bunch of money. Phoenix, according to insiders, is trying to cut money. Adding players with four or five years on their contract probably won’t do the trick. They need expiring contracts, and the Warriors don’t have any worth anything.
Biedrins is still a cheaper option than Stoudemire, especially of Phoenix can move Shaq. Still, other teams have more of what Phoenix might be looking for:
Dallas – has Jason Kidd’s $21M expiring contract, and Josh Howard, who has one year left at $10M plus and a team option
Detroit – has Rasheed Wallace’s $13M expiring contract, not to mention Iverson’s $21M expiring contract
Chicago – Has some $14 million in the combined expiring contracts of Drew Gooden and Ben Gordon
After all the hoopla this morning, I finally got confirmation. It is official, according to Al Harrington. The Warriors have completed the trade him to the New York Knicks for Jamal Crawford.
Harrington is making $9.23M this season and has a player option for next season, which if he picks it up will pay him $10.03M. The initial reports had the Warriors taking back Malik Rose, who has one year left for more than $7 million, which would have also fit.
Before I ask you what you think of this move, here is what I’m thinking:
* The Warriors get a veteran guard who can play both guard positions. He’s 6-5, 200 pounds and has become a reliable scorer. He’s averaging 19.6 so far this season after averaging 20.6 last season. He’s feeling it from three so far this year, currently at 45.5 percent, but for his career he’s around 32-35 percent. He also has a reputation for being clutch.
He can dribble well, he can shoot (though he’s streaky) and he can create. He’s experienced. You can trust him to inbound the ball (I hope). Not sure about his defense, but he did play for the Knicks, so chances are he hasn’t played much.
*The Warriors get to put the Harrington situation behind them. That relationship was a wrap and it was only going to become more of a distraction. Nellie can’t stop bringing up how Al ruined it by going public. It was best for both parties to get this chapter over.
* Crawford is the perfect guy to play next to Monta Ellis, when he returns. Crawford can play both positions, so Ellis can be the point guard and still take advantage of Crawford’s skills.
If the Warriors decide the Ellis-at-point experiment is not working, they can play Crawford at the point and let Ellis be simply a scorer. Plus Crawford has the size and athleticism that allows Nellie to play point but defend shooting guards, which allows Ellis to play shooting guard and defend point guards.
If the Warriors were going to go out and get a point guard, this is the type of player they needed. He’s probably too good in that he’ll make Monta’s growing pains harder to swallow (knowing there is a capable option). We all know about Nellie’s impatience with mistakes. Having Crawford as the ready Plan B might make him pull the plug on Ellis-at-point much quicker than if CJ is the Plan B.
But he now has the option to be move Monta off the point without losing that much production.
* Crawford is making $8.64 million this season. He has an Early Termination Option that would allow him to walk away from his contract after this season. If he declines to use that ETO, the Warriors would be on the hook for 2009-10 ($9.36M) and 2010-11 ($10.08M).
If Crawford opts out after this season, the Warriors get the bonus of shedding future salary along with moving their disgruntled forward. But if Crawford decides not to opt out, the Warriors are adding $10 million in future salary. For a team that has sought to avoid the luxury tax, that is an interesting risk to take considering the recent contract extension of Stephen Jackson and the previous big contracts giving to Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Corey Maggette. The Warriors could have four players making double-digit salaries in 2010-11, with Jackson just shy of $10M.
* Don’t the Warriors have enough guards? Adding one more to the mix is going to make for some interesting minutes-juggling by Nellie. Assuming Crawford doesn’t come here and ride the bench, is he going to play point guard? If he does, that means Stephen Jackson is back at shooting guard. Where does that leave Anthony Morrow?
OK, maybe Jax goes to small forward so Morrow can get a bunch of minutes at shooting guard. He has to be on the court, right? So then where does that leave Azubuike? Corey Maggette? How is everyone going to handles getting 25-30 minutes yanked from the guard pot by Crawford?
Either the Warriors have another move in the works or there is going to be some serious adjusting on the perimeter. I haven’t even mentioned C.J. Watson, and the former starting point guard who is now in Bakersfield.
* Crawford is a gunner. In five of his eight seasons, he finished with more three-point attempts than assists (not counting the one season he had eight fewer three-point attempts than assists). This season, he ahs taken 77 3s and has 44 assists.
Do the Warriors need another player to jack up shots relentlessly. Jackson, Azubuike, Maggette and now Crawford. The Warriors better order a new shipment of Spaldings. Will there be any shots left for the team’s best shooter, Anthony Morrow?
OK, so what do you think?
OK, a lot has happened super fast. There was quite a bit of info, thoughts I didn’t get into my story for tomorrow’s paper. Here are some of the major points of the article, some of my thoughts, and some answers to your questions. Ready? Breathe. Read.
* I was told consistently by a source that Maggette got five years, $50 million. At the last-minute, I heard it was five years, $40 million. But my source reiterated that it was $50 million. That $10 million is a huge difference. That deal looks a whole lot better if it is for $40 million.
* Heard late in the evening that the Warriors made an offer to Ronny Turiaf! Don’t know all the details yet, but I was told it averaged about $4M a year. Ronny is restricted, so if the Warriors sign him to an offer sheet, the Lakers can match. I’m not sure if I like this or not yet. Turiaf is one of those dudes who impresses you in spots, but when you step back and look at what he brings overall, he’s not to impressive. He does some things well, not so much others. Is he worth $4M? Over three years, sure, why not. The Warriors need a hustler, a body not afraid to bang.
* I was shunned by Baron’s people. He nor his agent responded to the one question I had: With Brand going to Philly, is there ANY chance AT ALL that Baron goes back to the negotiating table with the Warriors? I got no love. A contact did tell me that the Clippers spent Tuesday evening talking to Baron, convincing him to stay, even working out the details of the contract (as well as preparing a fat offer sheet for Atlanta’s Josh Smith). They were pretty sure he was staying, but he was rumored to be livid over Brand’s Boozer impersonation.
* Pietrus got love from Orlando because Otis Smith, the Magic’s GM, likes Pietrus. They had some kind of bond when Smith was with the Warriors and Pietrus was a youngster. That helped MP2 get what he got. Orlando needed a replacement for Maurice Evans, who is now a free agent. There is even talk that Pietrus could start.
* Didn’t I say top-tier ballers don’t want to play for the Warriors? Brand turned down some $10 million more from the Warriors to go to … Philly! Dang. That was a straight slap in the face to the Warriors. Did the Warriors really think they were going to get a player better than Baron?
* Speaking of Brand, he just went from one of the league’s character examples to supplanting Carlos Boozer as the face of reneging. Check this out – Brand, according to insider scuttle, turned down virtually the same amount from the Clippers. Los Angeles got up to $80 million and was willing to renounce more players if necessary to give Brand more. Still, he chose Philly.
* So the salary cap is $58.7 million. The luxury tax will be $71.1 million. Based on my estimation, and figuring this out cost me hours of my life I’ll never get back, the Warriors are at about $50 million including the cap holds. Here is the breakdown:
Al Harrington – $9.23
Corey Maggette – $8.50
Stephen Jax – $7.14
Andris Biedrins – $7.90 (cap hold)
Adonal Foyle – $6.50 (buyout price)
Brandan Wright – $2.50
Kosta Perovic – $1.70
Ant Randolph – $1.70 (rookie scale max)
Monta Ellis – $1.54 (cap hold)
Marco Belinelli – $1.45 (rookie scale max)
Kelenna Azubuike-$0.89 (cap hold)
Richard Hendrix – $0.44 (league minimum)
C.J. Watson – $0.71 (minimum salary, non-guaranteed)
Total – $50.20
That leaves the Warriors with some $8 million to spend before hitting the cap. If Andris signs a deal starting at a salary equal to his cap hold, the the Warriors can sign a free agent or two before signing Ellis and Andris. They’ll have close to $10 million if they wait to sign Randolph until they hit the cap, which they can do under CBA rules. They would also have more if they traded Harrington and got less money back.
*Here’s a concern I have: what happens when Monta and Andris want more than Maggette? Monta certainly has a claim. Say the Warriors start Monta at $9 a year (which would be $67.5M contract over six years). And say they start Biedrins at $8. That would make Stephen Jackson the fifth-highest paid player on the team.
Now, he’s up for an extension. I seriously doubt if he gets one. How is he going to react to being so far down on the salary pole but being a leader on this team while getting no extension love? Remember, Jackson has watched Richardson get shipped out unexpectedly as if he wasn’t the heart and soul of the team. He watched Pietrus and his boy Barnes get hardballed into a one-year deal. He watched his “brother” Baron Davis get his extension requests rejected in consecutive offseasons and then “lowballed” (in his eyes). He’s watching his other close friend, Al Harrington, once highly coveted by the Warriors, become a role player.
You have to wonder if Jackson is going to take one for the team or try to get his paper.
* With the way restricted free agents are about to get squeezed (only the clippers have money left), don’t be surprised if several of them ask for a sign-and-trade or choose to play for the one-year qualifying offer (and become restricted free agents next season). Including Andris. The free agent market is kind of skimpy this offseason – thanks to all the money going to the few big names out there. Some of the second-tier stars will shine a lot brighter in 2009.
* I still say go after Rasheed Wallace or Shawn Marion or Lamar Odom. Use Harrington, future draft picks, etc. – maybe even Stephen Jackson – to get a proven All-Star. They all are one-and-done, which could give the Warriors cap space next year if they don’t work out.
Posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Under: Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins, Anthony Randolph, Baron Davis, Brandan Wright, CJ Watson, Kelenna Azubuike, Kosta Perovic, Marco Belinelli, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Monta Ellis, Roster moves, Stephen Jackson | 42 Comments »
Tying up some loose ends: One thing the Warriors did not do after Baron Davis opted out Monday was attempt to up their previous best offer — which appears to have topped out at two years and $30 million (including all potential bonuses; the value easily could have been more like $25M). Todd Ramasar, Davis’ agent, said he did not hear Monday night or Tuesday morning/afternoon from the team, which seems to have cut the cord as soon as Davis sent his termination letter Monday afternoon.
As for free agents the Warriors have talked to, in addition to the well-chronicled Gilbert Arenas pursuit, a league source told me late Tuesday that Golden State took a run at Clippers forward Elton Brand, offering five years and $80M. Brand, however, is still set to go back to his old team, and it’s hard to see how that comes derailed now that Baron’s on board.
Without Davis, the Warriors could have something along the lines of $17M to $18M under the salary cap, with another $12M or so free before they hit the luxury-tax threshold. That means the club could spend as much as $30M on acquisitions (with at least some of them being trades). Add into that the contract of Al Harrington ($9.2M), presumably to be first on the list of players slated to go, and that’s a huge amount of cash to remake Golden State. Thanks to the free-flowing money, it’s easy to envision a bevy of restricted free agents lining up for meetings so they can claim the W’s are seriously interested and drive up their prices. What’s going to be tough is identifying when Golden State is actually interested versus when it’s just a ploy.
As for the point guard position . . . Nellie says he’s ready to see more Monta at the point this season, and while that may be true, it’s crazy to think that the Warriors can get by on nothing but C.J. Watson and Marco Belinelli if Ellis were to get hurt.
So, who’s available? Well, Sacramento re-upped Beno Udrih, the Raptors locked down Jose Calderon and Agent Zero appears set to go back to the Wizards, with the Warriors once again left second-best in the bidding for Gilbert. (Perhaps the Gilbert Arenas Rule needs to be amended to read, “Gilbert Arenas will play at least one more season for the Warriors before retiring.” That might be the only thing that gets him back here.) Aside from Baron, those were pretty much all the sure-bet, starting-caliber point guards available in free agency.
If the Warriors go the trade route, the Sonics (Russell Westbrook, Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson) and Grizzlies (Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry and Javaris Crittendon) are still oversubscribed at the position (although Seattle may be less interested in dealing now that Watson has broken a thumb and is expected to be out until training camp). And as Tim Kawakami pointed out in his column today, the Knicks could part with Jamal Crawford (not a true point, but could team well with Ellis) — unless Mike D’Antoni manages to run Stephon Marbury out of town, of course.
There’s been no indication the Pistons have changed their mind about wanting to deal Chauncey Billups to make room for Rodney Stuckey, so that’s still a possibility. Jamaal Tinsley’s departure from Indiana is a foregone conclusion, but reteaming two of the combatants from Club Rio — notwithstanding Stephen Jackson’s oodles of good works over the past year — might be seen in Warriors headquarters as unnecessarily courting trouble. Kirk Hinrich is available in Chicago, and his front-loaded deal, which steps down $1 million per year, would actually fit well with a team that has a ton of space now but will be paying out big money to its youngsters later.
Second-tier free agents include Anthony Carter (who told the Rocky Mountain News he has been contacted by the W’s), Carlos Arroyo, Tyronn Lue, Jason Williams, Sam Cassell and my personal favorite: Jannero Pargo. After bouncing around the league for three years, he finally found a niche with the Hornets. He can shoot the 3 (although he has a fairly dreadful overall FG%) is great from the line and would have no trouble adjusting to the Warriors’ uptempo style. The biggest obstacle — and it may very well be a deal-breaker — is that he’s 6-1 and 175, so there’s no way that he can play with Ellis. And Ellis, it seems very clear, is going to play 40+ minutes a night, every night, for the foreseeable future as the centerpiece of this team.
Where to begin? Of all the things I thought might happen to the Warriors this summer — and that’s a mighty lengthy list — Baron Davis passing on $17.8 million is not one of them. Of course, that’s because Baron was telling everyone who would listen it wouldn’t happen.
First off, let’s cover some turf that was discussed in the story you’ll never read — the one I sent into the office around 6 p.m. or so last night, or just in time for me to call back within the hour and say, “Tear that sucker up.”
Obviously, this was before BD dropped his bombshell, so I’m not sure this stuff still has relevance in the new Warriors world, but . . .
Don Nelson had this to say at Monday’s press conference for rookie picks Anthony Randolph and Richard Hendrix: “Matt Barnes and Cro, those guys will not be back, so there’s going to be some minutes there (at the forward spots). The team is going to take on a different shape, a different look. So there will be more opportunities for our youth.”
Chris Mullin didn’t necessarily agree, but did say it wasn’t realistic to think the Warriors could bring back both Barnes and Mickael Pietrus. And he said Patrick O’Bryant is as good as gone.
For his part, Barnes said, via text message: “(Nelson) is the boss. I would love to be a Warrior. I owe so much to Nellie and to the organization. But with the tough season I had last year, it doesn’t look like I’m wanted. . . . This is a cold game and a tough business.”
As for the point guard . . .
Here’s a Nelson quote that I couldn’t get into the paper due to language restrictions: “Opting out of a $17 million contract, that’s ballsy. Nobody can say Baron doesn’t have balls.”
Although I’m sure that a certain radio host who’s not a media member will disagree with me, the Warriors most definitely have been lowballing Baron. Consider this: When Chauncey Billups was 15 months older than BD is now, he got four guaranteed years worth approximately $11.5 million per season. When Steve Nash was 18 months older than BD is now, he got five guaranteed years worth $13 million per. BD was being asked to take significantly less security than that.
Thing is, nobody should be shocked by this turn of events. Lowballing has been the Warriors’ default negotiating position for a few years now; it’s how they chiseled Barnes down to a lone season at $3 million after his breakout year in 2006-07, and how they forced Pietrus to eat the one-year qualifying offer last season. It’s why the books look better and has worked for the team.
In this instance, however, it appears to have backfired. The Warriors have had plenty of opportunities to discuss an extension, but by sticking with their usual modus operandi, when Elton Brand opted out with the caveat that he’s returning to the Clippers, the opportunity was there for Davis to go home. And he’s jumping at it. According to multiple sources and several different reports, he will try to head to L.A. as a free agent as soon as possible, with Brand taking a less-than-max deal to make it happen.
“We’re grown-ups, and we understood that it was a possibility,” Nelson said. “We didn’t think it would happen, but it did and we’ll deal with it.”
According to the Washington Post, the Warriors’ first thought in dealing with it was to make a run at Gilbert Arenas, which would be great except — as always when it comes to Agent Zero and this franchise — the salary-cap cards are stacked against the W’s. The Wizards can and are willing, according to the Post, to pay Arenas for one more year than the Warriors can (six versus five), and can give 10.5 percent yearly raises instead of the 8 percent that Golden State can give. The total amounts will depend on the salary cap numbers, since the maximum allowable starting salary is a percentage of the cap.
If Arenas is not an option, where do they go next? Atlanta forward Josh Smith, an RFA, would fill the Warriors’ hole at power forward, but the contract would have to be large enough to make the Hawks give up on matching the deal. And that presumes Monta Ellis is ready to run the team on his own.
UPDATING AT 7:45 p.m. WITH OUR EARLY STORY:
What promised to be a tumultuous offseason for the Warriors was kicked into overdrive Monday when point guard Baron Davis left $17.8 million on the table and opted out of the final year of his contract, becoming an unrestricted free agent and throwing Golden State’s immediate plans into confusion.
Davis has maintained for months that he wants to remain a Warrior, and according to one team source was telling teammates last week that he would not opt out, but with mere hours to spare the man most responsible for breaking Golden State’s 12-season playoff drought reversed course dramatically.
With talks on a contract extension going nowhere, Davis played the last major piece of leverage he had. Although he is unlikely in the short term to recoup that $17.8 million — the final piece of a six-year max deal he signed with the New Orleans Hornets in 2002 — he can now negotiate a long-term deal with another team to try to set up a sign-and-trade situation.
The move leaves the Warriors with some unexpected room under the salary cap, although the exact amount won’t be known until the team sets its 2008-09 figures next week. Golden State currently has only six players currently under contract — starters Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson, plus untested youngsters Marco Belinelli, Kosta Perovic, C.J. Watson and Brandan Wright — although it holds matching rights on three restricted free agents, including young stars Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis.
Just got confirmation from the Warriors: Baron Davis, the man who led Golden State to its first playoff berth in 13 seasons, has opted out from the final year of his deal, passing up $17.8 million in order to gain his freedom after talks about an extension went pretty much nowhere.
More to come later.
Sorry for the long blog silence on my end and thanks to Marcus for keeping things going. I was taking some much-needed R&R, but I guess that’s over…
Since ESPN has been all over this morning’s story, let’s get some things out of the way first:
* I didn’t assert that the Pistons and Warriors are in current negotiations because I don’t have proof to back that up. If I did, that would have been the lead, and Baron’s decision not to opt-out (something that’s been widely expected by pretty much everyone who reads this blog, or has a pulse) would have been buried eight paragraphs down.
* What I do have is someone whose information and motives I trust telling me that the Pistons are interested in Baron and are willing to deal Rasheed and Chauncey (in general, not just for Baron), a stance that matches up with Joe Dumars’ “no sacred cows” speech at the conclusion of the Pistons’ season.
Let’s not go jumping the gun and buying BD a plane ticket out of town, but let’s say this … if these two teams aren’t currently contemplating such a deal, they should be.
When you write a news story about two opposing sides of a debate, you know you’ve done your job well if neither group has a complaint; that means you’ve given equal treatment. A trade with Baron and Al and Chauncey and Rasheed as headliners is kind of the NBA’s version of that theory, something with pluses and minuses on both sides.
FOR THE PISTONS:
They clear the decks for Rodney Stuckey to take over at PG in 2009-10. They don’t have to worry about next summer, when Rasheed will be looking for a new deal that will take him to 37 or 38 years of age. They get the best individual player in the deal in Baron, and can either let the $17.8 million slide off the cap to use as space to chase another free agent, lock Baron up with their own extension (although that seems less likely, given that they love Stuckey), or sign-and-trade him to any one of the teams that are desperate for point guard help (the Lakers, Clippers and Trail Blazers all jump to mind immediately).
They get back a forward who may not fit what they want to do (Al’s not going to be able to replace Rasheed’s defensive versatility). And unless they proactively sign Baron to an extension, there’s always the chance that he’ll walk away and they’ll have little to show for their two best players.
FOR THE WARRIORS:
They get arguably the second-best option to plug their power-forward spot (the best option is busy smoking victory cigars and having free drinks bought for him in Boston), especially given Rasheed’s 3-point range. They get rid of one player (Al) who was unhappy with the way he was used last season and another (BD) who was disappointed by the team’s lowball extension offers this summer. They get another big point guard who can defend 2 guards so Monta Ellis can play the same 2-on-offense/1-on-defense hybrid that made him one of the league’s hottest young players.
They give up a lot of years in this scenario (BD is 2 1/2 years younger than Chauncey; Al has more than 5 years on Sheed). A LOT. And while that jump-starts a final push under Nellie, it puts them in jeopardy of paying out eight figures three years from now to players on the far side of 35 who have declined.
Any deal with Baron won’t happen until after July 1 (and won’t be finalized until July 9) because there’s no reason for Baron to agree in writing to not use his opt-out provision. We’ll have to wait and see if Thursday changes the dynamic for either team before determining if this possibility remains viable.