Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The future in Golden State gets brighter


By Justin Taylor

For the last 20+ years I’ve grown accustomed to talking myself into a patchwork Warriors lineup every summer and getting roasted by other fans, friends and family for trying to talk them into the into it too.  In general I usually get some version of the following quotes: ‘It’s baseball season, we’ll talk about how much the Warriors are going to suck in October”; “Football is about to start, stop torturing yourself”; “You know damn well the Warriors aren’t going anywhere this season”; “I feel sorry for you” and “This shit again?” 

Now with the new ownership, the Monta Ellis/Andrew Bogut trade and this year’s perceived offseason success it’s funny that some of those same people are bringing the conversation to me now.  This is the best (on paper) roster we’ve seen in about two decades and everyone; including some of the national media for once; are reserving their seats on the Golden State Bandwagon for 2012-13.  This isn’t a roster that only Nellie could coach, it’s not a Raymond Ridder Production and it’s surely not a Robert Rowell creation.  There are no hideous Chris Mullin as GM type contracts and there are no locker room cancers; unless you feel Andris Biedrins’ “scared of his own shadow” disposition is at risk of spreading. 

No matter how good a job the front office did during the summer we all know that this whole house of cards will come crashing down if the ankles it is built on can’t hold it up.  If there was one question I could ask Bob Myers it would be not how he thinks the team will perform this year, it’s been asked and answered hundreds of times in some way shape or form already.  My question is…How does this roster connect to a future of sustained winning and what type of moves are necessary to continue shaping the team?  All he can say is that he hopes he can keep everyone in the fold and even my wife knows that isn’t going to happen.  She hates having to learn half a roster worth of names every season especially considering that she thinks the whole thing is fixed anyway.  At this point I can’t really blame her for either point.

What I really want to see is the Warriors “road map” extending beyond the next couple of years now that they actually have one.  It must exist at this point right? We now have a competent front office that seems committed to modeling itself after the elite teams so I wonder how the inner circle views the current roster.  The truly great franchises in all sports always have some sort of long term plans that they are trying to maintain while they put together their team’s immediate future.  In the Cohan era long term goals revolved around hope.  Hope for a free agent to sign at some point, hope to strike it rich with the imminent lottery pick and hope that fans continue to pack the stands when plans A and B don’t pan out.  

There’s no doubt that the short term will be dedicated to developing the youngsters and evaluating how the veterans fit into the long view scheme even if the stated goal is to make the playoffs this year.  If we look all the way past 2012 and even 2013 based on what we know now what can we see?

1.  The Warriors will be paying David Lee a shitload of money ($15 million in 2014-15 and $15.5 in 2015-16.

2.  Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, Jeremy Tyler and Kent Bazemore are all playing on rookie deals and fighting for an extension with a hefty raise attached to it.

3.  Charles Jenkins is an unrestricted free agent unless he shows enough to get his extension after this season.

4.  Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson are either retired or someone else’s problem.

5.  Brandon Rush, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack are all finishing their careers elsewhere.

6.  After Utah finally gets their number one pick from us after this season (at least they better, being in the top six of the lottery will not be an acceptable out come this year) that means there will be a 2014 mid first rounder who’s more trade bait than rotation guy on the roster.

The things you don’t see are Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut (or their respective ankles) and it is a great situation to be in.  That may sound kind of moronic to reference a team minus it’s two best players as a good thing but what I’m looking at is $25.5 million out of about $70 million committed to seven players.  That means that even if the ankle twins are healthy and resigned for a combined $30-$35 million that still leaves the team with nine players and $15-$20 million to spend for a stud and a couple of scrubs to fill out the roster.

This is also when the timeline for the new arena is going to start coming into focus which will give ESPN and NBATV a reason to mention the Warriors as a potentially appetizing destination every time a star comes on the market; exactly the way Brooklyn has been in every conversation the last couple of years.  That means that if CurrBogut doesn’t fully recover from the ankle woes or just doesn’t pan out it’s not crazy to think that you could swing a trade for a guy who’s set to enter free agency and actually have a shot in hell of getting him to sign an extension without getting the Dwight Howard treatment for a year and a half.  You know, LeBron James will be unrestricted at the end of 2013-14 now that I think about it…just kidding, I may be completely biased and even irrational when it comes to the Warriors but I’m not stupid.

The main thing that Corey Maggette taught us during his stay in Oakland was that no contract is untradeable.  Keeping that lesson in mind let’s consider what our financial situation would be like if David Lee wasn’t making more than the other 6 guys on the roster combined based on the figures above.  It’s too far out to know how current all stars and Olympians will be performing in three years but humor me for a second.  If you were going to spend $45 million dollars after the 2014-15 season for three guys would you rather have Stephen Curry (27 years old in three years), David Lee (32) and Andrew Bogut (30) OR Rajon Rondo (29), Kevin Love (26) and Marc Gasol (30)?

Whether you think the Warriors should be building the team for the next five or six years on top of our brittle ankles is irrelevant at this particular time.  The whole point of this column is to say that for the first time in forever the franchise actually has options that can be exercised from a position of power if executed like an elite team executes.  They have time to evaluate, time to develop the assets already in tow while continuing to collect them, time to make deals that will continue to improve our salary cap positions and time to let the dead money finally die. 

Less than four years ago the window into the future had images of Warrior fans being water boarded while loud annoying marketing slogans were played on loop until they’d crack and buy tickets.  Almost every move made was motivated by the need to move disgruntled players or the need to sell more tickets.  Now you can actually see how the motivation from the top down revolves around the need to win.  It’s a simple theory that was somehow lost on Chris Cohan and the great basketball mind he had making the decisions, Robert Rowell.  Now when you peer off into the distance you may see a borderline playoff team (and Biedrins decaying corpse collecting flies) but if you look just past that you’ll see something different. 

If you’re wondering what I think (and nobody asked but here it goes anyway) I’d say that I see a (Joe Lacob should love this) piece of pristine waterfront property that’s being zoned to build something great.  Papa Joe and many readers might draw a direct line to San Francisco with that metaphor but the truth is I don’t give a shit where I’m attending games.  I only care that the uniform says Warriors and box score results start with W’s more often than L’s.  The fact is that the engineers behind the project I’m concerned with are Bob Myers, Jerry West and Joe Lacob’s wallet instead of the CFO and the PR/marketing departments.  It’s safe to say that the team will continue to get its fair share of my hard earned money (maybe even more than usual) as long as the maneuvers they make continue to make today’s team better without leaving the future of the franchise hamstrung.  In the meantime I’ll be scrutinizing every weld and screw that goes into this venture the way CalTrans has watchdog groups watching them build the Bay Bridge.

10 comments:

  1. The “I feel sorry for you” really hit home hahaha
    I know exactly what you are talking about

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  2. I came up with a trade and I'd like to know what you think about it. Jefferson and Tyler to the Suns for Dudley and Frye.Dudley has about 4 years/18million left on his contract and Frye has 3 years/18 million. Dudley could be our version of Thabo Sefolosha, playing great defense and rebounding allowing barnes to come off the bench. Also Frye would give Ezeli some time to come into his own, and would definetely be tradeable in a year or year and a half.

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    1. I would love the trade for this season but am not sure I'd like it in the third year when Jefferson would be off the books and we could spend that money on anyone we wanted. I like both players but they arent pushing us up the playoff ladder and there's no guarantee that a trade would be available in year 3. Speaking of Sefalosha though... http://www.warriorsworld.net/2012/09/04/warriorsworld-podcast-episode-2/ the Warriors World Podcast posted yesterday interviews Bazemore's Agent and that is the exact NBA comparison he gave. That would be the best of both worlds if it proves true right?

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  3. When you can state famous questions written in the first paragraph you qualify as a true W's fan. I've heard a few questions in my time also & glad to have a little company. A question many have asked is: "Why do you wear that ol W's hat? Haven't you learned your lesson yet you idiot?" My answer was:I'm a W's fan!" After around 76 it turned to this: "This hat belongs to my mother!" I figured out at a early age not to take abuse for management decisions! I found out long ago my philosophy in the decision making in my "location of dedication" was not a intelligent one. Why didn't I pick a winner as Boston? Stupidity yes, now I live in agony. Like my wife,cheaper to keep her! That's just life as a GS fan. Shelled with negative comments,just another day in life! Someday maybe I'll even spit a few back again if SSI doesn't shoot my ol ass first! LOL! Hollow points for target practice? Who are the targets? Guess who? If you don't see my comments someday you'll have a pretty good idea as to why.
    I just see GS as a group of auto's riding on many patched tires up to the end of last season. The fleet is under renovation & changing as per the acts of the renewed management. We have new vehicles but aren't equipped yet with all of the bells & whistles yet so success is still around the corner. We are subject to the conditions of the contract: No Warranty! So what! We are building again & Rome is not complete. Another cloudy day in Oakland!
    As a GS fan we live on hopes & prayers daily! I have lived my whole GS life on hope & prayer so what the hell's the difference this season? We have possibilities as written & deservedly so. I have been rather quiet as I don't want my ass handed back to me too early in the season (as in past days) but if we win at somewhere around a 62% clip I will be bombarding that Laker fan! You can bet the house on it( only if we don't get our asses handed to us by the L's). I hope they fall on tough times but their ownership's past actions put them in a position to make the Howard deal unlike our past few owners. A little luck combined with a little common sense thinking & desire to better ourselves may have some value for a change. Agreed,teach the youth the correct way now before the "Nellie" effects set in! Hopefully I won't have to go thru another year of making excuses for my team playing playground basketball. Fun to observe but no trophy's brought home for that style of play. It doesn't work too well in the NBA if you forget the letter "D". Will our staff teach our children the letter "D"? I sure as hell hope so! Been quit a while since that letter was discussed in class! Maybe since the '90's. S

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  4. OK, I hit 36 FT's in a row the other day & was shooting lights out from 3.

    That proves it once and for all, the payoff years start now for GSW fans.

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    1. Well the drought has been lengthy & hopefully you're on the right track J.T. This Bogut deal sure makes you think but all we can do is watch. The way I've been looking at lately it is at least we're worrying about something other than whether Monta can play in the same back court as Curry etc. I'm ready to get pummeled again & don't really give a crap. What else is new? At least there's hope of a future big man. The past few seasons help in the paint has been non-existant. I have faith! I had faith last season. I had faith in 1980. I just get tired of the same ol shit.

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  5. At least Ezeli can somewhat hold down the fort defensively while Bogut is out. And last night Biedrins had a couple good assists from the high post that surprised me. The production from the 5 spot is a lot better than last season already, and that's without Bogut. Says a lot about how much the center position sucked last season lol.

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