After a playoff run that brought the Golden State Warriors into the national spotlight, Golden State must take advantage of this upcoming offseason. Although they do not have any picks in the upcoming draft, the focus for the Warriors should be on working with its current core, starting with the players eligible for free agency this summer.
Despite Stephen Curry’s record-setting regular season and lights-out postseason, his ankles simply cannot be relied upon. Thus, it’s crucial that he have a backup that can come in when he needs a break and keep this offense alive.
Last season, Jarrett Jack was the perfect backup for Curry. Not only could he play well along side Steph, but also when Jack was on the court without Curry, he possessed the ability to create his own shot and keep the offense flowing.
Unlike Curry, who shot the ball well from beyond the arc, Jack was unique in that he was a deadly mid-range shooter.
According to Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland.com, Jack had the highest mid-range shooting percentage of any point guard that took at least 400 mid-range shots.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, they already have a significant amount of money tied up and re-signing Jack will only tack on more money that they will be required to pay when the luxury tax hits.
To nobody’s surprise, Andris Biedrins did not opt out of the final year of his contract. Unless the Warriors are able to find a team that would be willing to take on Andris Biedrins’ $9 million salary, they’re stuck paying him for his final year.
Since they probably won’t find a suitor for a 6’11” center with a killer tan whose stat line last season was 0.5 points, 0.8 blocks and 2.9 rebounds per game to go with a 31 percent mark from the free-throw line, the Warriors are stuck with a $9 million bench warmer.
If the Warriors are willing to take the pay hit this season, it’s not all bad news because in 2014 the only two players with guaranteed money are Steph Curry and David Lee.
However, due to the structure of the new CBA, for the Warriors to be able to re-sign Jack or Carl Landry, another player they value highly, it would require Jack and Landry to take one-year deals, something neither of these players are likely to do.
One option the Warriors could pursue in order to clear up cap space is to find a cheap replacement for David Lee. However, Lee, while being an excellent offensive power forward, struggles defensively and many around the league find his contract unattractive due to it’s length.
Also, Warriors fanatics might burn down “Roaracle” if he were to be traded.
As disappointing as it may be for Warriors fans, there really isn’t much they are going to be able to do by way of resigning Jack or Landry. Due to having $20 million locked up in Richard Jefferson and Biedrins, the Warriors will more than likely be forced to watch Jack and Landry sign long-term contracts with other teams.
The Warriors, then, should look for one-year replacements for these players so that they can minimize their financial damage, while still ensuring they receive the benefits of a salary-clearing summer of 2014.
At point guard, they might look towards players such as Darren Collison, whose numbers were nearly identical to Jack’s last season. To replace Landry, they may look to someone like Chris Kaman who, while not producing like he did with the Clippers, can still put up respectable numbers for a backup, considering he averaged 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The good news for the Warriors is that Harrison Barnes showed during the playoffs that with growth, he is very capable of becoming a star in the league. With both Barnes and Klay Thompson being invited to Team USA minicamp, they will be given great opportunities to grow as players.
Heading into next season, the young core of the Warriors will still be intact and if they are able to weather the storm for one season, even without re-signing Jack and Landry, 2014 gives them the opportunity to pursue some big-name players.
In the meantime, the Warriors will have to decide if they’re going to be willing to take the financial hit in order to keep either Jack, Landry or both. If they aren’t, expect the Warriors to be shopping for some rent-a-players in the upcoming free agency period.