Which One Should it Be?
But it's never too early to look ahead to the offseason.
That's when Jarrett Jack becomes an unrestricted free agent, and Carl Landry can opt out of his contract. Both have been vital to the Warriors success this season, and the Dubs would not likely be headed to the postseason without them.
Ideally, both players will return next season.
Ideally, Andrew Bogut would be healthy for the first round , but just because you want it to happen doesn't mean it will.
Stephen Curry has his new extension that kicks in next season. Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins own player options on their contracts that they are likely to exercise. That alone would leave the Warriors hovering right around the salary cap limit if not already over it.
With all the guaranteed money due, it might force the team to decide on whether to keep Jack or Landry should he opt out.
If that is the case, the Warriors should try their hardest to re-sign Jack.
Jarrett has been tremendous this season and has been a leader on this team. He is the fourth leading scorer with a 13.0-point average, and he ranks second in assists with 5.5 per game. He's even hitting the most threes in his career with 1.1 per game.
He has been instrumental in the Warriors success, and he seems to like it in Oakland.
What's most surprising is how well he plays with everyone else on this team. Of the top five five-player lineup combinations (based their plus/minus number), Jack is a part of four of them. He meshes well with this roster, and with the same core of players likely to return next season, it makes the most sense to bring him back and make one more run.
That is before Bogut, Jefferson, Biedrins, and Brandon Rush all become free agents after next season.
Golden State should attempt to keep him at least one more year, as he has been the perfect fit for them and the fans. His tough, high-energy play was something the Warriors were missing. The dazzling plays he is capable of making fire up an already excitable crowd.
If the competition weren't so stiff, Jack would be a near shoo-in for the Sixth Man of the Year. Still, he is in the conversation to be the first Golden State player to win the award since the league started handing it out.
Mark Jackson, in an article by Antonio Gonzales (via FoxNews.com), had this to say about Jack and his contributions.
You can't put a value on it. The guy has been off the charts. Jamal Crawford has had a great year. J.R. Smith has had a great year. Jarrett Jack is the Sixth Man of the Year. What he has brought to our basketball team, what he has meant to us, in the locker room and on the floor, closing ball games, making big plays, he's been a steal for us.
Jack's ball handling has also been huge. He has allowed the Warriors to feature a three-guard lineup with Klay Thompson and Curry on the wings, who just happen to be two of the deadliest shooters in the NBA. The three average 10.7 threes, 25.3 assists and 7.0 steals per 100 possessions.
The Warriors need to bring that dynamic back.
Jack competes every night and does whatever it takes to win games. Warrior fans deserve a player like this.
If Forced to Choose, Who Should the Warriors Re-Sign?
But how should the Warriors approach this dilemma in the offseason?
The plan: Try to sign him to a one-year deal. Give him one year in the $7-$8 million range and head into the summer of 2014 with just $25 million dollars committed in salary before they likely exercise the options on all the rookie contracts they possess.
That would give the Warriors plenty of options to build around a core of Curry, David Lee, Thompson and Barnes. That would give them flexibility to pursue other free agents while still retaining the option of bringing back their own.
If he requires a long-term deal, then so be it. He has been too important to this team. Remember this is a franchise that has only made the playoffs twice in the previous 19 seasons. They can't let one of their leaders just walk away.
No matter what happens this offseason bringing back Jack should be a top priority.
*All stats and figures courtesy of NBA.com and HoopsHype.com