Nov 29

NBA Season a Go! Warriors Will Make a Move For Playoffs

With the recent announcement that the stalemate is over between the NBA Owners and Players,  it is time to ponder moves the Warriors will consider to attempt a charge at the playoffs in a lock-out shortened season of 66 games.

If all goes to plan, the free agent signing period and trade talk can begin on December 9th, 2011.  Also at this time, preseason camp opens for all NBA teams.

One of the most interesting pieces of the new CBA includes a new Amnesty Clause.  Each team has the ability to cut one player and remove his salary from the books, so that it does not count towards the team’s salary cap.  The teams using this tool are still on the hook to pay the players per the contract.  Poor contract signings on players that did not live up to expectation abound in the NBA, and the Warriors have no shortage of bad contracts of late.

PF David Lee, C Andris Biedrins, and G Charlie Bell are the three contracts that are cited by the media as amnesty clause options.  Those are the three most alarming contracts considering how they hamper the team.  I originally believed letting go of Bell was the idea that made the most sense.  There is no point in discussing Bell other than to say he has no more NBA game left in his career.  The Warriors owe him 4 million for the last year on his contract.  Biedrins has grossly under-performed since signing a deal worth 9 million a year, and the team still owes 3 years on the contract. However, Biedrins has potential to still earn that contract and is a decent backup center at worst.  It is possible now without coach Don Nelson that Biedrins regains some of his old form. My initial thought on David Lee is that it is highly unlikely that the Warriors use the amnesty clause on him.  According to ESPN, the Warriors still owe Lee 69 million on his current contract, and that would be a huge price to pay.  A new article on CSN Bay Area made me re-think this…http://www.csnbayarea.com/blog/warriors-talk/post/For-Warriors-never-a-better-opportunity-?blockID=602064&feedID=2799

Matt Steinmetz, the author of this article, absolutely changed my mind.  I was looking at PF David Lee as a centerpiece of the Warriors for years to come.  Steinmetz pointed out that a core of Lee, SG Monte Ellis, and PG Steph Curry are not a core group of players that will take the Warriors deep in the playoffs ever, and may never make the playoffs.  My readers know that I have been advocating a trade of Ellis, and I cannot disagree with Steinmetz.  What changed my mind about Lee is the large amount of money that comes off the books if we amnesty his contract.  By removing Lee from the books, the Warriors will have around 16 million in cap space this year.  The Warriors no longer realistically need Lee on the team.  There are 2 proven capable power forwards without Lee (Ekpe Udoh and Lou Amondson), and there is also newly drafted PF/C Jeremy Tyler.  That huge amount of salary remaining in Lee’s contract has to be a difficult number to swallow (once again 69 million).  But what that allows the Warriors to do is compete right now.  Interestingly, Matt Steinmetz and I disagree on this point.

Steinmetz feels it is time to rebuild.  He feels losing Lee means losing key contributions.  I have refuted this by my argument that their are others to shoulder the PF load.  It is time for Ekpe Udoh to shoulder starter minutes.  At this time, he is the team’s best defender and a capable rebounder.  Steinmetz also recommends a trade of Monta Ellis as I do.  In his estimation, this removes the Warriors completely from playoff contender status… I could not disagree more.  What is does is enables the Warriors to become instant contenders to go deep into the playoffs.   Let me tell you why…

Removing David Lee means we can chase after Nene, Tyson Chandler, or Marc Gasol.  I believe any one of the three could be a good fit for the team that Mark Jackson will coach.  They all will command a similar salary of 12-15 million.  I feel Nene may be the best fit as he is very athletic and runs the floor very well.

Trading Monte Ellis could get a better player than Steinmetz expects.  The question is how for real the rumor of Ellis for Andre Igoudala is.  This trade has been rumored for the last couple of years.  I don’t know what team was unsure of the deal, the 76ers or the Warriors.  I have a feeling the Sixers have wanted to get the deal done and the Warriors have been trigger shy.  The two players salaries are close enough that salaries are not a problem for the deal.  Igoudala would give the Warriors the shutdown wing defender they desire as he can defend the 2 or 3 spot.  He can minimize the effect that the Lebrons and Kobes have in a game.  There is no one on the Warriors that has a chance to do that now.  Igoudala also puts up very good rebounding and assist numbers.  He can play the 2 or the 3.  He is 6’6″ and 207lbs. He is established in the league and at 27 years old, he is in his prime now.  Igoudala is not a ball hog; instead he looks to set up teammates, runs fast breaks expertly and will complement Warriors shooters.

New line-up would look like this…

PG Steph Curry 6′ 3″, 185 lbs

SG Andre Igoudala 6′ 6″, 207 lbs

SF Dorrel Wright 6′ 9″, 205 lbs

PF Ekpe Udoh 6′ 10″, 245 lbs

C Nene 6′ 11″, 250 lbs

I don’t think there are any people who have any knowledge of the NBA who would look at a starting line-up that consists of these players that would not be impressed. There are some major obstacles to getting this done, but if the Warriors’ brass want to compete, they will make every effort to get it done.

Interestingly enough, the bench would not be too shabby either.  It would potentially be better than some starting 5s in the league such as the Bucks, Twolves and Raptors.  Have a look at what I would optimistically expect it to be at the beginning of the playoffs…

PG Charles Jenkins 6′ 3″, 220 lbs (or Jeremy Lin)

SG Klay Thompson 6′ 7″, 205 lbs (or Reggie Williams)

SF Al Thorton 6′ 8″, 235 lbs (or Reggie Williams or Vlad Radmanovic)

PF Jeremy Tyler 6′ 10″, 260 lbs (or Louis Amondson)

C Andris Biedrins 7′ 240 lbs

Those are the 14 players I would expect to be in the mix.

I have a feeling that the rookie Jenkins is going to be a very good pro, and potentially a very good back up point immediately.

Also rookie Thompson could be an excellent immediate impact scorer who could break into the starting lineup quickly.

Jeremy Tyler is a project.  The rookie has a ton to prove.  I expect he will be a serviceable backup this year.

If the Warriors field this squad, I expect a #4 finish in the Western Conference.  It fixes many wrong items the Warriors have had trouble with.

Things the team hasn’t had in years…

1.  A center who can score consistently and play decent D.

2. A power forward who can defend and rebound.

3. A wing defender to shutdown the opponents best perimeter scoring threat.

4. A big SG.

5. A balanced team front to back with no real ball hogs, but with shooters that can light it up in the starting lineup and off the bench.  Think about a team with shooters like Curry, Williams, Thompson and Wright (maybe Radmanovic as well but I don’t love him).  Think about a team who could always have two glass cleaners on the floor in Nene, Udoh, Biedrins, and Tyler (Amondson too who isn’t that great or that bad).

Why the Amnesty Clause used on Lee wouldn’t make the Warriors a instant playoff contender comes down to two things…

1.  Ownership is unlikely to pull the trigger.  They love David Lee.  I like him too quite a bit on the Warriors.  That contract is huge to swallow without getting contribution from him.  (but hey… can afford it and the fans would pack the house every night unless #2 happens)

2.  For some reason the resulting 16 mil under the cap is not enough to land a quality starting C like Nene, Chandler or Gasol.  And the warriors don’t get the trade pieces in return for Ellis they are looking for.

There are other scenarios that would work if we have that kind of cash to work with under the cap.  The above is just the most fun to think of… Can’t wait!  Go Warriors!

The Fraz




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  1. Nico

    They won’t make the playoff’s, but I think the two keys for the upcoming season will be the continued maturity of Curry, and the need for a scoring big man. That lack of a true center has really hurt them, especially in the West where it seems every other team has that advantage. I expect a high scoring, sometimes high flying team. That’s also going to be their weakness.

  2. Shawn

    As an optimistic fan, I expect owner Joe Lacob to come through on his promise of big bold moves. The fans don’t care about his moves in management hiring and he knows that.
    He has created a contract with the fans to make the playoffs this year. Now with the amnesty clause, he has the ability to do that.
    I believe if he doesn’t want to eat crow, he will use the amnesty clause this year and sign a major free agent, or free agents.

  3. Shawn

    Also new ownership is on record as saying they have some of the deepest pockets in the league. I expect them to dig into them now.

  4. Nico

    Unfornately, those deep pockets usually fork over incredible sums of money to guys who end up going bust, but I like the enthuiasium. Just cause they can’t land a Lebron or Kobe doesn’t mean they can’t get somebody. Remember too they already got two scorers, so do they go for a defensive veteran? Do they dangle Curry and see if they can get a package deal for maybe 4 2nd tier players? Do they beg Mitch Richmond to come out of retirement? lol So many options, so little time.

    1. shawn

      I like the idea of bringing on DeAndre Jordan. Second option to Chandler isn’t so bad. The Dubs are offering 10 mil a year, over the 8 mil a year the Clips offered. I don’t know the Clips will match. Very cool.

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