By Justin Taylor
The Dorrell Wright Era in Golden State is over
This week got a whole lot more interesting for armchair GMs like me when Dorrell Wright finally got traded. I don’t care if they got a sack of rocks for him; the deal leaves the tax evading Andris Biedrins and the check cashing Richard Jefferson as the only dead weight left on the payroll. GM Bob Myers already said in an interview following the trade that they plan on being real players in free agency when those contracts come off the books in 2014. I don’t think I’ve been this excited for such a minor move in a long time. They went from less than $4 million to use in free agency to almost $8 million dollars to spend. That doesn’t mean we will spend that money or that we should but this is a clear sign to the rest of the league that says, “Back Off Assholes! We’ve got the money to match your offer for Brandon Rush!” (UPDATE: News has now come out that we actually got Jarrett Jack in a three way swap with this trade. This is a great move that really shores up the back up PG spot. The only question now is what it does to my previous statement about having money to match all offers for Rush...more on that later)
In a span of two years Wright went from a steal of a free agent signing to a player who was soft and indecisive. When we got him and he hit all of those open threes a couple years ago we all cheered and looked forward to seeing him grow with the core of the team as our starting small forward. Then the 2011-12 season rolled around and he got soft, he got tight, he got indecisive and suddenly he wasn’t much of a steal. By the time he got traded on July 10th the only thing about him that was considered an asset was his reasonably priced and expiring contract. Now that he’s gone we have the money we need to sign Rush, Dominic McGuire and a back up point guard like D.J. Augustine, Jarryd Bayless or Leandro Barbosa; maybe in a worst case scenario, Nate Robinson. At the end of the day it doesn’t even matter that we got a player who will never play in the NBA for him, on top of the extra financial flexibility it also freed up some minutes for Harrison Barnes at the crowded 3 spot.
Myers also said that they were being “aggressive but prudent” at the post trade conference call and it’s hard to argue with the logic in that. He went on to say that they would even consider paying the luxury tax if they had a shot at a real “difference maker” and you don’t hear anyone saying we’ve missed out on one of those. The young exec is saying and doing all of the right things in my mind. While he waits to sign a role player to a discounted one or two year deal other teams are locking up similar players to big long term deals. While Myers is watching his cap for 2014 there are many teams around the league are going buck wild while throwing caution to the wind.
Here are a handful of examples of deals I’m glad that we have no hand in:
Roy Hibbert turned one good season and two good playoff series into a max contract offer from Portland that is being matched by Indiana. It’s funny how fast a 7 footer who can walk and chew gum can go from a bust to a $15 million per year player isn’t it? Provided he’s healthy I’ll take Andrew Bogut at $13.5 million a year over him any day.
Speaking of overpaid 7 footers, Brook Lopez will get a similar deal whether it’s from Brooklyn or Orlando in the coming days. He may be a pretty good scorer but a guy that size that only averages six rebounds per game has no business cashing a $15 million paycheck. He’s walking but I’m not sure how much gum he’s chewing. Just one more guy that I’m glad the Warriors aren’t paying.
When it was first reported that the Celtics had a 4 year $40 million offer for Jeff Green and the heart condition that sidelined him this year I was floored. Those won’t be the numbers when the ink dries on the contract but if it is anywhere near those figures you have to wonder who they were bidding against. They must have been competing against Chris Mullin’s 1996 4 year $36 million offer to Derek Fisher or maybe the $42 million deal he gave Adonal Foyle.
Jeremy Lin had a storybook run for a few minutes before getting hurt this season but I think Jalen Rose summed it up best when he said, “you can’t make more millions then games played.” That’s exactly what the Knicks and Rockets are lining up to do right now. The numbers in the media are $28.8 million over 4 years for the 25 starts and 126 turnovers he accumulated this season. He’s a wet dream from a marketing perspective and I’m glad the local kid has made it but I’d still rather have Klay Thompson as my two guard. I may be alone (with the Warriors front office) on this one but if we had to choose all over again I’d still want Charles Jenkins over him.
Goran Dragic has always been a nice player but that distinction shouldn’t earn you $8.5 million annually. All this contract really did was make me very nervous about how much we’re going to owe Stephen Curry once he’s healthy and eligible for an extension.
The Clippers are signing Jamal Crawford for somewhere between 3-4 years and in the range of $15-$25 million dollars depending on who your “sources” are. Even though I’ve been pining for a point guard I’m not going to be the one to pay a guy who’s going to be 33 and is coming off of his worst year for another four.
Steve Novak has one NBA skill. One! We’ll call it two if you count his ridiculous discount double check after every made three. He just signed a 4 year $15 million dollar offer because he’s a really good spot up 3 point shooter and his signing immediately made me think two things: 1) Is Isiah Thomas secretly running the Knicks again? 2) This isn’t good for our chances to resign Brandon Rush to a reasonable contract. Rush shot 45% from three to Novak’s 47% but I’m pretty sure Rush destroys him in every other measure imaginable. There will be offers coming that are going to bump up our qualifying offer for Rush.
Is Landry Fields really worth $7 million a year? He is either riding the New York hype machine or his unbelievably nerdy handshake with Jeremy Lin to a majorly overinflated contract. I guess we’ll find out this year in Toronto. They are in a similar position to where we’ve been in the past where we have to overpay someone just for them to want to talk to us. Once again, please give me Brandon Rush for almost $3 million less per year.
The big question is whether Dominic McGuire is coming back or not
As the free agent period has developed I have been more and more impressed with the team’s commitment to sanity. There’s so much money being thrown at players that don’t deserve them right now it seems like last season’s lockout was even more pointless then previously thought. It’s not just the moronic contracts being doled out but also the fact that the biggest names in the game can still force a teams hand to not only trade them but to move them to their preferred destinations. Obviously Dorrell Wright doesn’t have the clout to fall into that category but Dwight Howard and Steve Nash do.
I’ve been rooting for the Orlando Magic to stick it to Howard by doing what is best for the team regardless of his demands. It would be such a sweet victory for the league if they could send him somewhere that would make him miserable while still getting the best deal possible. As much as I hate the Howard-Orlando hostage crisis, as a Warriors fan I’m much more disturbed by Steve Nash (one of the most likable guys in the league) teaming up with Kobe in LA. The only silver lining to this move is knowing that neither of these guys have more than two years left, unless Kobe’s German Doctors make even more advances in “biologic medicine”. The Wright trade makes me feel great but Steve Nash playing Los Angeles is still a tough pill to swallow.
The new front office rotation has shown great fiscal responsibility mixed in with just the right amount of risk taking in the midst . If we chalk up David Lee’s contract to the old regime the only mistake they’ve really made was the Charlie Bell/Biedrins amnesty fumble. Last year’s big money pursuit of Tyson Chandler was the right shot to take and one year later there are no big deals that make sense so the front office isn’t trying to force anything. In this current landscape of big deals for mediocre talent there is no shame in waiting for another Dominic McGuire type deal to fall to them once the money has dried up everywhere else. I've been driving the Anti Antawn Jamison Bandwagon and I really hope the bring back McGuire before they entertain the thought of Jamison. I won't boycott the move but I will openly mock it.
In two short years the new management group in Golden State has shown that the days of overpaying inferior talent and biding against themselves for the likes of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy are over (my apologies to Chris Mullin for calling out almost every one of his signings in this column). They may have gotten lucky in missing out on Jordan but it’s hard not to agree with the talent and cap evaluations going on in Oakland these days. As long as they continue to clean up the cap and the roster they can proclaim, “big things are coming” all they want (in all fairness, they caught a lot of flack for that line but it was an NBA slogan, not Golden State original bullshit) and I won’t have any gripes. Things be changin’ in the Bay Area and for once it’s actually the Warriors.