Monday, February 21, 2011


No one really knows what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will look like, but many GM's are willing to bet that some kind of hard-cap may be in the works to bring down costs and promote league parity, similar to what we see in the very successful NFL model. With that in mind, expiring deals (numerous around the league) are not as valuable during this season of uncertainty. Teams that want to trim salary may wait for the offseason to do so in hopes that they can cash in on another playoff appearance before a potential lockout. Warriors are on the outside, looking in as usual, and hope to pounce on any deal that could net them a young star. But it is more likely that Riley will not find a suitable deal to strike and will opt to let the huge Radmanovic and Gadzuric deals expire so that they can try to acquire a solid piece and role players in the 2011 offseason.

The Warriors will be around $6 million below the salary cap, but around $9 million if they renounce the rights of Brandan Wright and cut ties with Jeremy Lin. Depending on how the new CBA is constructed, the Warriors can be among the more financially flexible teams in the league. If they can somehow ditch Charlie Bell's $4 million dollar deal, they will be able to be major players vying for the services of the top free agents. Realistically, a major free agent signing won't happen and they are better off making modest additions similar to what they did last offseason when they acquired value players with cheap, short contracts such as Dorell Wright and Louis Amundson. Warriors should then look to make a splash in the 2012 offseason when Biedrins is likely easier to trade and Bell's deal expires.

Here are some cheap, but good free agents on my wish list.

Point Guards

Warriors need a backup PG who realistically, will accept less minutes and be able to run the team without causing the Warriors to lose too much when he's on the floor. He needs to play up-tempo and be a true PG. Stephen Curry is developing into one, but a ready-made true PG would be a welcomed addition to the roster. A young PG with upside would be ideal, but a veteran who can help teach Curry the subtle nuances of the position would also work.
    (name, team – 2010-11 salary – status)
  1. Mario Chalmers, Miami HEAT - $0.9 million – Unrestricted* : solid defender, more of a natural PG, 3 pt range
  2. Patrick Mills, Portland Trail Blazers - $0.9 million – Unrestricted* : lightning fast, able to control tempo, improving offensive game, good PG skills
  3. Sebastian Telfair, Minnesota Timberwolves - $2.7 million – Unrestricted : true PG, experienced
  4. T.J. Ford, Indiana Pacers - $8.5 million – Unrestricted : true PG, experienced, no upside, injury-prone, could be a good mentor and decent backup PG if he can be had for cheap
  5. Chris Quinn, San Antonio Spurs - $0.9 million - Unrestricted : true PG with experience

Shooting Guards

One of the bigger needs for the Warriors is a lock-down perimeter defender who can compliment the small backcourt and step in when match-ups dictate. He needs to be able to compensate for the lack of size in the starting unit, be a 3 point threat, and accept a backup role for the time being. If Ellis is traded, he may be asked to step up into the starting lineup, so a player with upside would be ideal.
    (name, team – 2010-11 salary – status)
  1. Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets - $2.0 million – Restricted ($2.9 million Qualifying Offer) : one of the better defending SG's in the league, improved offensive game, 3pt range, better compliment to Curry's game
  2. Sonny Weems, Toronto Raptors - $0.9 million – Unrestricted* - athletic, can score, will be a defensive improvement over our current backcourt

Small Forwards

The missing lock-down, perimeter defender can also come in the form of an athletic, long, small forward. Dorell Wright is a steal at $11.4/3 YRS, but an upgrade at this position would dramatically improve the bench by allowing one of their biggest offensive threats to move to a 6th man role. Any SF addition may be asked to slide into the PF slot on occasion, so it would be a bonus if they were able to do so.
    (name, team – 2010-11 salary – status)
  1. Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers - $2.9 million – Restricted ($4.0 million Qualifying Offer) : rising star, versatile tweener, athletic, solid rebounder
  2. Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons – $11.1 million – Unrestricted : excellent perimeter defender, good range, injury prone, great in transition, good passer
  3. Earl Clark, Orlando Magic - $1.9 million – Unrestricted : point forward skills, good defensive potential due to his size and athleticism, still a work-in-progress
  4. Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks - $2.1 million – Restricted ($3.1 million Qualifying Offer) : very good all-around game, can play 3 positions, defensive stopper potential
  5. Dominic McGuire, Charlotte Bobcats - $0.9 million – Unrestricted : defensive specialist, improved slightly on the offensive end, able to guard 3 positions, excellent rebounder, could be had for very cheap contract
  6. Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves - $3.7 million – Restricted ($5.0 million Qualifying Offer) : defensive specialist, energy off the bench, improved range but still an offensive liability, could be had for cheap
  7. Julian Wright, Toronto Raptors - $2.9 million – Restricted ($4.0 million Qualifying Offer) : defensive specialist, athletic, good rebounder, limited range, cheap
  8. DaJuan Summers, Detroit Pistons - $0.8 million – Unrestricted* : tweener with 3 pt range, not good at much else but has shown glimpses of potential, cheap

Power Forwards

Warriors are committed to David Lee as the starting PF for the next few seasons, but there are a few holes in his game that need to be addressed through acquiring complimentary talent. Ekpe Udoh is a start due to his physicality and defensive potential. His offensive game is developing, but the likelihood of Udoh becoming a star PF/C is low. The Lee/Udoh combo at PF is a decent complimentary pairing, but from what I've seen so far, Udoh's future impact may be better suited for the Center position with some spot minutes at PF until he develops a reliable perimeter game (if ever).

In the meantime, the Warriors should look to add depth and skills that they don't have in their front court players: shot blockers, 3 point range, perimeter threat, strong rebounders, athletes, upside.
    (name, team – 2010-11 salary – status)
  1. Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons - $0.8 million – Unrestricted* : athletic PF who can also guard SF's, energy off the bench, 3pt range, pesky defender, needs to add strength, current injury could allow for good contract value
  2. Jason Smith, New Orleans Hornets - $2.2 million – Restricted ($3.1 million Qualifying Offer) : 7-footer with 3 pt range, mobile, active on defense but foul prone, struggles to score inside
  3. Josh McRoberts - $0.9 million – Unrestricted* : starting to realize his potential, 3 pt range, can pass and dribble, below average rebounder for his position
  4. Brandan Wright, Golden State Warriors - $3.4 million – Restricted ($4.6 million Qualifying Offer) : shot changer, can score in post, inconsistent and injury prone
  5. Yi Jianlian, Washington Wizards - $4.1 million – Restricted ($5.4 million Qualifying Offer) : mobile 7-footer, mid-range game, has trouble finishing at the rim, decent shot blocker
  6. Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks - $0.9 million – Unrestricted* : defensive specialist, can guard multiple positions, poor shooter/scorer, good rebounder
  7. Dante Cunningham, Portland Trail Blazers - $0.8 million – Unrestricted* : good all-around player, energy off the bench, mid-range game, versatile defender


The best use of the offseason's resources would be used to upgrade the Center position. A confident Biedrins is worth every penny of his contract, but unfortunately, he lost his way and is struggling to make it back to his 'prime' production years. The Warriors can't afford to rely on a comeback, so going after a stud center should be a high priority. He must be the prototype center that blocks shots, rebounds, and plays good man-to-man defense. He needs to be a physical presence in the paint in order to compensate for the smallish backcourt and defensive deficiency's at the starting PF position.
    (name, team – 2010-11 salary – status)
  1. Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers - $6.8 million – Restricted ($8.8 million Qualifying Offer) : big injury concerns, huge gamble could lead to high reward, if he reaches anywhere close to his potential he will be THE missing piece to the contender puzzle, may need to win bidding war with teams willing to take a chance on Oden (particularly Trailblazers)
  2. DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers - $0.9 million – Unrestricted* : major upside, strong interior scoring potential, no perimeter game, defensive presence the Warriors are sorely lacking in the paint, bigs of his caliber may come at a steep price
  3. Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers - $3.0 million – Restricted ($4.1 million Qualifying Offer) : upside with solid offensive game, good rebounder and shot blocker, shies away from contact and working hard in the paint, perimeter oriented big with good post moves, good compliment to Udoh
  4. Kwame Brown, Charlotte Bobcats - $1.3 million – Unrestricted : defensive big, rebounds well, cheap
  5. Alexis Ajinca, Dallas Mavericks - $1.5 million – Unrestricted : project big, 7'-2" shot blocker with tremendous wingspan, very raw, has a mid-range jumper, worth a gamble if can be had for cheap
  6. Kyrylo Fesenko, Utah Jazz - $1.1 million - Unrestricted : defensive big, raw offensive game, project with small upside, cheap
  7. Hamed Haddadi, Memphis Grizzlies - $1.8 million – Unrestricted* : 7'-2" shot blocker, rebounds well, has scoring touch in the paint, plodder, cheap

Free Agent Target Rankings:
  1. Greg Oden
  2. DeAndre Jordan
  3. Thaddeus Young
  4. Arron Afflalo
  5. Spencer Hawes
  6. Jonas Jerebko
  7. Tayshawn Prince
  8. Earl Clark
  9. Wilson Chandler
  10. Mario Chalmers
  11. Patrick Mills
  12. Jason Smith
  13. Josh McRoberts
  14. Brandan Wright
  15. Dominic McGuire

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