Now that we know what the Warriors have left (See: Part I), what can Warriors fans look forward to?
Fans complained when Jason Richardson was traded, and when the subsequent trade exception was left un-used. But these moves were strictly to give the Warriors an opportunity to re-sign Ellis, Biedrins, and retain Davis this year.
Without Davis, they now have cap-space for free agents.
The up-side includes a huge amount of dollars to work with this year, or next year. With Davis gone, and assuming re-signings for Ellis (~$10 mil), Biedrins (~$10 mil) and even Azubuike (~$4 mil), the Warriors still should have approximately $12 million under the luxury tax threshold. In addition, they will still have their mid-level exception to utilize.
Also, per HoopsHype's Salary listings, Adonal Foyle would finally come off the books after the 2008-2009 season. That's another $10 million off the books, if waiting a full year for the next, big free agency period.
Consider that Al Harrington's (~$10 million) contract expires after next year (2009-2010). Not only does he become a chip to "free up cap space" for some team (Warriors or otherwise) for the big 2010 free agency market, but he could still be utilized as February trade-bait to a team looking for a veteran presence with multiple talents (albeit requiring the right environment).
So, money is no longer the major issue for the Warriors now. Now, the question becomes who is available (in the upcoming months and next year).
This year's (2008) free agency crop includes:
- Josh Smith (R)
- Josh Childress (R)
- Emeka Okafor (R)
- Elton Brand
- Gilbert Arenas
and a few peripheral players, who could help the Warriors:
- Chris Duhon
- James Jones
Next year (2009) could include:
- Joe Johnson
- Drew Gooden
- Andrew Bynum (R)
- Shawn Marion
- Chris Paul (R)
- Ron Artest
- Deron Williams (R)
(Feel free to comment on other free agency options that might make sense)
Are any of these players really options for Warriors, or good enough to help?
The problem with the above is that most of these players already seem to have natural places to return to. In fact, Brand seems content to re-sign with the Clippers and join our departed "savior." Josh Smith is already getting the full-court press from Philadelphia, and the Hawks are saying they will match any offers.
The rest may not be key players with enough juice left to greatly impact the Warriors in their (dream) quest for a championship, when the time comes.
The Warriors better hope there's another super-star that gets burned out during the season from a team other than their own, and who needs to get out of their current situation.
But how many true stars are out there? And can lightning really strike twice?
Warriors management better hope so. And for the continued improvement of their young core.
A single taste of playoffs in fourteen years is not enough.
If they don't do something, maybe the Bay Area Fans will finally turn their backs and leave empty seats in their wake.
As the empty "We Believe" seats above demonstrate: the old motto is over. The gauntlet is laid for Warriors management to prove themselves again.