Saturday, February 4, 2012
Perhaps one of the most controversial decisions of this lockout shortened offseason was the non-amnesty of Andris Biedrins. It seems that the overwhelming majority of fans are angry that the Warriors decided to use it on Charlie Bell who was an expiring $4M contract. Those fans desperately wanted to use it on Biedrins in order to clear out $27M in cap space over the next 3 years.
In all honesty, if it were my decision, I would have probably done the same thing.
Biedrins is only 25 years old. He's an agile 7 footer (a rarity in the NBA), who has monumental confidence problems - correctable to a degree under the right conditions. Mark Jackson has a way with players, so if I were Lacob, I would put faith in Jackson to build Biedrins back up into a tradable asset worthy of a roster spot on a contender desperate for center depth. There should be a market for him if he can show that he is over his confidence issues and if a team believes that all is needed is a 'change of scenery.' The 'process' of reclamation is underway and it seems to be slowly heading in the right direction.
Using the amnesty on Bell was acceptable in my view, given the situation. Bell, who just appeared drunk to his DYI court hearing, was an unwanted player who had no chance of contributing to the team. Biedrins, on the other hand, was their only viable center option currently on the roster at the time. Jeremy Tyler was not ready and Udoh is undersized for the job as full-time center. At the very least, Biedrins would give them solid backup minutes and 6 fouls a night. The Warriors needed just enough cap space to make a good offer to their number one target, Tyson Chandler. Amnestying Biedrins' contract in order to offer an even higher amount would have been a mistake that the organization would likely have regretted given Chandler's age and limited contributions on the offensive end. Their offer to Chandler was generous enough, and if it weren't for the Knicks amnestying Chauncy Billups to clear cap room, he would probably be a Warrior, albeit an overpaid one. Had the Warrior amnestied Biedrins while losing out on Chandler, they would have had serious depth problems at Center, writen off $27 M over 3 years, and be forced to pay for a starting center and a solid backup as well.
By going hard after DeAndre Jordan next, the Warriors showed that they were not afraid to spend, but at the same time, were not going to be reckless with the cap space they had. Biedrins was supposed to be the backup Center, but it did not happen according to plan. They settled for Kwame Brown, but unfortunately, he got injured early and we are back with Biedrins as the starter. Thankfully, the Brown deal is only for 1 year just like the other free agent signings that rounded out the roster.
Since Biedrins spoke to the media after the January 29th loss to OKC Thunder, he seems to be playing with more passion and energy. Mark Jackson has increased his playing time and he is responding. Although the boxscore doesn't underscore this, he is playing good defense, altering many shots, rebounding, fighting for position, blocking shots, deflecting balls, and tapping missed shots to others for offensive and defensive rebounds. He's having a net positive affect on the game even though he is still not able to contribute in the scoring column. I would like to see more of him in the 4th quarter when the Warriors are fighting to keep leads.
I'm rooting hard for Biedrins and I hope he can get back. If he does, he becomes tradable, allowing the Warriors to shed some of his salary while getting surplus talent or less defective players in return. If we're lucky, perhaps we can get a 2nd round pick and expirings.
Rusty Simmons: Andris Biedrins 'not satisfied' with his season
Golden State Warriors: Biedrins Post Practice Interview (1:40)
Marcus Thompson: 5 Reasons the Warriors Won’t Amnesty Biedrins
Tim Kawakami: Warriors amnesty: Should be Lee, could be Biedrins, but probably will be Charlie Bell
Tim Kawakami: Joe Lacob on the Warriors’ 5-11 start, Mark Jackson, the amnesty decision and more