I’m proud to say that I’ve been following every move the Warriors have made for almost three decades even if they’ve sucked more often than not. My philosophy is and always has been that all of the losing will make winning so much sweeter. I truly believe that unless you’ve experienced the despair of a humiliating defeat you will never be able to fully appreciate the thrill of winning it all. Nobody knows when that day will come but you can actually see their window of opportunity off in the distance for the first time since the 70's. Some people are already feeling a draft it seems.
Now that the Warriors are relevant for more than just their loyal fan base again the term “wait till next year” isn’t just something for the eternal optimists. I’ve always been one of those kool aid drinkers myself but now there is a whole new generation of fans, young and old, spiking the punch bowl. I must be addicted to going against the grain because I was a Golden State evangelist back in the days where your credibility as a basketball fan suffered because of it. Now that it isn’t a crazy notion I’m going the other way and telling a much larger audience that they had better temper their expectations.
You have my word that I’m not doing this on purpose just to stir the pot. I just see a team that has exceeded expectations and is now expected to build on it a year before it is ready to. None of this is to say it won’t happen. My personal opinion is that if this team hit fourth gear sooner than anyone anticipated, next season will be clutch getting pushed in so fifth gear can be realized in 2014. It’s not hard to see the developing youth, the massive amount of dead weight coming off the books and the opportunity to add a true difference maker that comes with it next summer.
I find it unfortunate that today’s sports world almost requires instant reactions that rule out the ability to fully flesh out thoughts and ideas. That kept occurring to me as I spent the time to find out just how good 2014 could be for the Golden State. The more I looked forward the more I started thinking that our opportunity to hit the home run that pushes us to the next level might just come in 2013. In the end, things will probably just unfold in a way that makes me wrong more than once.
2014 seems like it should be a boon for the Warriors with it’s anticipated war chest of cap space and the anticipation of a Lebron James headlined free agent class. The problem with that line of thought is three fold. The chances of Lebron coming to Oakland are slim to none; the rest of the big names on the unrestricted list don’t fit the Warriors plans; even though there are some intriguing names on the restricted free agent list, you’ll need to overpay them (limiting flexibility from 2014-who the fuck knows) like crazy to scare away their current teams.
For now I'll prove my point against my original point with the list of 2014 big name unrestricted free agents.
Top 2014 Free Agents:
Dwayne Wade: I’ll take Klay Thompson for $15 million a year less and about 10x less risk of a huge drop in production or worse, the length of a contract plagued by injuries.
Kobe Bryant: No chance and no thank you.
Luol Dang: I’m sticking with Harrison Barnes who should be the guy we’re all hoping he’ll be by the 2014-15 season and at one third of the price.
Lebron James: If there is a real chance to get him you do whatever it takes but I don’t think we’ll have to waste too much time thinking about those scenarios.
Danny Granger: He might be an interesting option IF…he recovers from his injury problems, becomes a more efficient scorer and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The chances of all three things happening are about as likely as a Richard Jefferson resurgence.
Carmelo Anthony: Yet another guy who wouldn’t consider the Warriors and yet another sigh of relief from me. When you have a team with great chemistry he’s not the player that builds on that. Steph Curry is a more efficient scored and he even knows how to pass the ball.
Dirk Nowitzki: Does anyone expect him to be much more than a spot up shooter who makes $15+ million a year by the time the 2014-15 season rolls around? Maybe I better rethink that though. He is from Germany after all. If they’re giving world-class treatment to Americans like Kobe and Jermaine O’neal what do you think they would do for the local hero Nowitzki? They may have a whole facility dedicated to extending Dirk’s career through the 2016 or even the 2020 Olympics.
Pau Gasol: If he’s already a shell of himself what will remain after next year?
Amare Stoudemire: This car already has a salvage title on it. I’m pretty sure that legally, his contract must come with a Lemon Law Disclaimer and good luck getting that thing insured.
Chris Bosh: It is infinitely more fun to make fun of Chris Bosh and the team that overpays him than it is to root for him.
Andrew Bogut: The more you look at this list the more you hope Bogut gets healthy and resigns with the Warriors. His size is a need, his game fits and his personality fits. Everybody else is old, falling apart and overpaid to say the least.
This list shot my original theory regarding 2014 straight to hell. Now I’ve got to rethink the whole “stand pat, let the dead money fall off the payroll and be a top player on next season’s free agent market” theory. In fact, I probably should have moved on from that notion as soon as Joe Lacob stated that “the thought of standing pat repulses me” for the second time in two weeks, first on KNBR two weeks and then on 95.7 The Game last week.
Now that ten seconds have passed here’s the new theory that will lose relevance sometime between draft day and July 1st. For what the Warriors need there are better fits in the looming free agent period but there obviously isn’t any money to capitalize at this time.
Instead of wondering whether Bob Myers is looking to make a big trade or not we should probably think about what would need to preface such a deal. There are two things I’m looking for over the next few weeks that might shed light on future moves.
Joe Lacob has already referenced buying a draft pick. That would be one asset that could help the Warriors get into another major deal that goes down somewhere else around the league (think Igoudala, Howard or Granger). The point of being a third wheel in such a deal would be to give the pick to one team and use Richard Jefferson’s expiring deal to match up money for the team looking to cut cost.
If and when none of that happens prior to the draft I’ll still believe that Bob Myers is cooking something up for this year. I wish the trade deadline weren’t so far away because it’s going to be a busy one unlike last year. The new collective bargaining agreement tightens up after next season so luxury tax paying teams are going to begging for Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. Never thought you’d hear that again did ya?