State of the Cap: Golden State Warriors
By Josh Redetzke
2007/08 Golden State Warriors Payroll: $61.1 million
2007/08 Estimated NBA Salary Cap: $55 million
Roughly: $6.1 million over cap
[img_assist|nid=3802|title=Baron Davis|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=336]The Good: After grabbing the hearts of the general public as the feel good story of the NBA this year, there are plenty of accolades to go around for the Golden State Warriors. A good place to start would be Monta Ellis, who owns what might be the highest value contract in the entire league. Ellis exploded in his second year to average 16.5 points, 4.1 assists, and shot 47.5% from the field. Since he was drafted in the second round, his contract will pay him just $770,000 dollars next season. With another year like this one, it’s safe to say that Ellis will be making ten times that amount when his current deal is finished.
Another breakout performer was center Andris Biedrins. Coach Don Nelson doubled Andris’s minutes and the Latvian big man rewarded him by leading the team in rebounding (9.3) and blocked shots (1.7). He even chipped in 9.6 points on 60% shooting. Andris is due to make only $2.6 million next year and seeing how teams overpay for size, he is due to make a heck of a lot more.
The trade that brought Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson to the bay area was a prosperous transaction in two ways. For one, Golden State got the best players in the deal as Harrington and Jackson completely outplayed Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy. And secondly, the team gave up $79.6 million in contracts over four years and brought in $48.9 million over three years. Harrington and Jackson provide much more value for their paycheck and the cap savings will pay dividends down the road.
The Bad: Baron Davis and Jason Richardson were injury victims this season with Baron missing 19 games and Richardson missing 31. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they are the two highest paid players on the team.
Davis was his usual, bipolar self. For the fifth consecutive season, he played in less than 68 games and his poor shooting from the field and three point line continued (although the Dallas Mavericks would disagree). Davis has always been an incredible talent and his playoff performance showed what he is capable of, but he needs to do it for an entire season in order to earn the $16.4 and $17.1 million he has coming the next two years.
For Richardson, this was his first major injury and when he did play his numbers were down nearly across the board. That’s not a good sign since he still has four years and $51 million left on his contract. Richardson seemed to bounce back in the playoffs and will hopefully recover enough to once again score 20-plus points a game. Whether that will be with the Warriors is another story.
The Adonal Foyle era is still going strong, although this time, there are only two years and $18.6 million remaining. It’s hard to believe that Foyle could be any more of a bust than he already was, but he found a way to outdo himself this season by averaging just 2.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10 minutes per game. The day they signed Foyle is not one of Chris Mullin’s fondest memories.
The Future: Golden State was one of the biggest stories of the playoffs having their most successful season in over 20 years. Not only did they end years of futility by making the postseason, they also showed up in style by knocking off the top seeded (and supposedly unbeatable) Dallas Mavericks. It was possibly the biggest upset in the history of the NBA playoffs and their rowdy fans enjoyed every minute of it.
That being said, the Warriors still have some work to do to capitalize on the good vibes they generated this year. Matt Barnes came out of nowhere to become a key reserve and Mickael Pietrus really improved his game. Both are now free agents and with the team already well above the salary cap, it’s unlikely that they will be able to keep either player. They also have extensions coming up for Biedrins and Ellis, which could be why Golden State is shopping Jason Richardson. Getting rid of his big contract would make it easier to keep the rest of the team together, though they would be losing one of their best scorers.
Golden State is also rumored to be after Yi Jianlian in the draft, which makes sense in the long run, but he probably wouldn’t help the team much next season. It appears that Don Nelson and Chris Mullin have the future of the Warriors in mind and this summer could have some radical changes. Despite the big upset, the Warriors are not legitimate contenders yet. At least now, they seem closer than ever before.
Free Throw: Please, Andris Biedrins, for the love of God, shoot your free throws granny style! It can’t possibly be any more embarrassing than the horrendous display you currently call a free throw attempt and you might actually make a few once in a while. It’s hard to believe that Biedrins will soon sign for tens of millions of dollars to play basketball when he could be beaten in a free throw shooting contest by an average ninth grade girl.
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