Ranking Golden State Warriors' Most Believable 2014 NBA Free Agency Rumors
With NBA Free Agency set to kick off on Tuesday, July 1, the Golden State Warriors are primed to make a splash with a number of potential deals. After being teased incessantly with the Kevin Love trade saga and anguishing away during the draft with no picks to their name, the Warriors and their fans are ready to complete their roster.
While the rumor mill has been surprisingly quiet thus far, there have been a few names that have been linked to the Warriors the last couple of days. Whether these are moves the Warriors will make—or should make—remains to be seen.
The Warriors will enter the market with a little over $11 million to play with—this factors in their $9.8 million traded player exception for moving Richard Jefferson and their $5.3 million mid-level exception—without entering the luxury tax, something that general manager Bob Myers said he is weary of during this season in a interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
I would say the threat of being a tax team looms larger because we’re not really re-signing any of our own players this off-season. We might, but the signings wouldn’t take us into the tax…
I don’t think we’ll go over that $11M-$12M threshold. I don’t think we will.
The Warriors have holes to fill on their roster, specifically at the backup guard and center positions, and a very finite amount of cash in which to do so. This will factor heavily in determining whether many of the rumored players being linked to the Warriors actually end up there.
Whether it be through the free agent market or through a trade, here are some of the players that have been linked in one way or another to the Warriors this offseason, ranked from the least likely to join the squad to the most likely.
5. Pau Gasol
Gasol would be a magical fit on the Warriors, as his craftiness in the low post, underrated defense and elite passing skills would give the Warriors one of the best big men in the NBA.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, they will be competing with big-market teams like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, and the demand could price him right out of their grasps. With GM Bob Myers already having said that he’s hesitant to go over the luxury tax this season, it’s highly unlikely that he breaks the bank for Gasol.
While Gasol is still a great player, he is past his prime. The Warriors are looking as much towards the future as they are the present, and Gasol does not fit in that regard. The Warriors have multiple roster spots to fill and a limited amount of money to do so, which means that adding Gasol will be nothing more than a passing rumor.
4. Ryan Anderson
When Steve Kerr arrived in Golden State, he spoke to Tim Kawakami about his desire to add a stretch 4 to an already potent three-point shooting squad:
I think this team could use a stretch 4. I think a shooting 4 could really make things difficult on the opposition.
We saw what Draymond did in that Clipper series at the end. He made 5 threes in Game 7. I mean, that’s the kind of balance that becomes really difficult to guard.
That’s the one nugget I can give you that we actually have talked about. A stretch 4 would be great. But in terms of names, we really haven’t gotten into that.
With the exception of Kevin Love, there isn’t a better one of those in the NBA than Ryan Anderson.
Kawakami name-dropped Anderson specifically in a tweet earlier, but the likelihood of this happening is slim. Not Pau Gasol slim, but still highly unlikely.
Anderson is owed around $8.5 million in each of the next two years. Not only would that eat up the majority of the remaining cap space needed to fill out the rest of the roster this season, it could really hurt when negotiations with Klay Thompson—should he still be a Warrior—begin on an extension next season.
While he would be an excellent fit, his price tag is just a bit too high. Paying a more well-rounded player like Gasol a little more would probably be the better option overall.
3. Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin will always have a spot in the hearts of the Warrior faithful. He could very well be on his way back if reports by Larry Seely of the Digital Journal are to be believed:
Rumors have hit social media about a potential deal that would send Jeremy Lin to Golden State, a move that would likely cost the Warriors just a pick in next years draft.
Lin started his career in the Bay Area, but made a name for himself with a spectacular stint in New York, but with both the Rockets and Warriors looking to add more talent, landing a player like Lin couldn't hurt.
Houston is trying to rid themselves of salary cap space, a move that could land them LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. The Rockets already have a solid duo with James Harden and Dwight Howard, but adding another All Star could make them the team to beat in the Western Conference next season.
With LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both set to visit in the next few days, it’s no surprise that the Houston Rockets are looking for potential takers for Lin. With a contract worth upwards of $14 million next season–although only $8.3 million would count against the cap—freeing up that room is vital to their endeavors.
Do the Warriors really want that contract, though? With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson manning the guard spots, Lin would be relegated to the bench. That’s a heavy price to pay for a non-starter. While he offers the penetration and slashing ability that the Warriors desperately need off the bench, the price might be just a bit too high.
While not as unlikely as the Gasol or Anderson scenarios, we’ll still file this under the probably-not-happening section. There are clearly benefits to this deal—he fills a need, is extremely popular in the Bay Area and would be a marketing dream—but those benefits don’t outweigh the price.
2. Channing Frye
Channing Frye has so many ties to the Warriors it’s difficult to find where to start. Steve Kerr was the man that brought him to the Phoenix Suns when he was the general manager there. Frye played his college ball with Andre Iguodala before their careers ever began. Where did they play their college ball, you asked?
The University of Arizona, alma mater of...Steve Kerr.
When Kerr spoke about his desire of adding a stretch 4, it was almost as if he was specifically talking about Frye. Frye shot 37 percent from beyond the arc last season and his career average checks in at 38.5 percent. Splash Brother number three, perhaps?
Iguodala has been very vocal in his desire for the Warriors to bring in Frye, via Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News:
"I've talked to Channing a few times," Iguodala told Sirius XM on Thursday. "I told him how great the Bay was. I told him how his family would enjoy it. I know his family well. My family knows his family, so it wouldn't be strangers. I would take care of him. If he needed a room, I got an extra room for him.
"I like to pass a lot. I passed to Channing a lot in college, so Channing knows that he'll be able to shoot the rock."
The big factor that could determine this going through is whether Frye would be wiling to take a bit less money. Frye declined a $6.8 million option that would have kept him with the Suns this season. The Warriors will not give him that much.
If he would be willing to take something in the $5 million range, the Warriors would still have enough to fill out the rest of the roster. The incentive of playing for a contender and reuniting with old friends could make it happen. It doesn’t hurt that he shares the same agent with Iguodala, Rob Pelinka.
Frye to the Warriors is a very real possibility, one that I believe will happen unless something of far more importance takes place soon.
1. Kevin Love
It’s time for a bold prediction: Kevin Love will be a Golden State Warrior next season. And so will Klay Thompson.
The inability of the Minnesota Timberwolves to negotiate a trade before the NBA draft severely crippled any leverage they previously had. There are no longer a string of teams with juicy lottery picks. The Chicago Bulls have put their apples in the Carmelo Anthony basket.
Outside of the Warriors, finding a suitable trade partner is not materializing for Minnesota.
That leaves them with two options. The first is to keep Love, stumble through mediocrity for another season and then watch him sign a big contract with someone else.
The second is to finally give into the Warriors’ demand, accept the fact that Klay is off the table and rebuild with a core of David Lee, Harrison Barnes and a future first-round pick.
The problem for Minnesota is that the Warriors don’t need a trade to be contenders. They were an Andrew Bogut injury away from possibly knocking off the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. They can literally hang up the phone the moment Thompson’s name is mentioned and be fine.
Greed has always been a harbinger for doom, and in the case of Minnesota, this will prove correct once again if they don’t lower their demands. If you ask for the world, you’ll end up with nothing. They know that even without Klay in the package, it’s still the best offer on the table.
So, with no leverage and the certainty of their best player leaving for nothing, look for the Timberwolves to come to their senses and make the best of a bad situation. They will officially start their rebuild, and the Warriors will enter the season as one of the favorites in the stacked Western Conference.