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Will Charlie Villanueva Be Object of Desire for Warriors This Summer?

MILWAUKEE - MARCH 07: Charlie Villanueva #31 of the Milwaukee Bucks moves against James Jones #33 of the Portland Trail Blazers on March 7, 2008 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Trail Blazers defeated the Bucks 103-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
K ShakranSenior Analyst IJune 29, 2009

The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to make qualifying offers to Ramon Sessions and Ersan Ilyasova, both of whom are restricted free agents. They have, however, opted not to make any offers to Charlie Villanueva.

This move stands as a peculiar one for the Bucks, especially after trading away Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs days before the 2009 NBA draft to clear some cap space.

As a free agent, the Golden State Warriors, who were seconds away from landing Amare Stoudemire on June 25, should have their eyes on Villanueva this July.

With Jamal Crawford coming off the salary books, the Warriors are expected to make around $61,244,674 next year—assuming the Dubs do not tweak the roster.

The Warriors have, by no means, finished trading this offseason—as the chase for a solid power forward or center remains heavily active. If the Warriors decide to target Villanueva this July, they would have to offer him a mid-level exception (expected to be around $5.8 million) for the first year of his contract.

The Oakland-based team should attempt to clear cap space by trading forward Brandan Wright and guard Marco Belinelli. The Warriors should also be kicking themselves in the foot after signing Corey Maggette to five years and $50 million last season.

Villanueva averaged a career-best 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 27 minutes per game for the Bucks in the 2008-2009 campaign. The 6'11'' forward would bring some much-needed help to the Warriors in the rebounding and defending departments, if he lands in the Bay Area.

In addition, Villanueva has a good mid-range jumper, and a reasonable long-range shot (shooting 36 percent on three-pointers last season). This could spark the interest of head coach Don Nelson, as well.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, and Oklahoma City Thunder have also shown interest in the 24-year-old forward.

It's most likely that Villanueva will join the Cavaliers, as he has a good relationship with both LeBron James and Mo Williams. The Cavs are also desperate for an NBA championship before the 2010 free agent market takes the league by storm.

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