Baron Davis is gone. Is it all "for nothing?"
The Warriors Management crew, though stunned, appeared ready to walk the path without Baron in the long-term. According to news media, the Warriors were pushing for only two guaranteed years in Baron's contract.
No wonder he intends to sign for the greater safety net of five-years with the LA Clippers.
One thing is certain: NBA fans will enjoy watching the Clippers more than ever now, with a line-up that includes solid players: Kaman, Brand, Thornton, Gordon (or Mobley) and Davis.
But, the Clippers just added another injury-plagued player, and one they might regret having two-plus years down the road. It will be worth it only if they at least make the Western Conference Finals or beyond, this year and/or next year.
That's no small feat in the West, where there are existing powerhouses like: San Antonio, LA (Lakers), Phoenix, Utah, and up-and-comers New Orleans (some may already consider a shoe-in) and Portland-- all vying for the same prize.
Consider the following Warriors' new depth chart, with each player in their most natural position, considering players available (back-up options in parentheses):
- Andris Biedrins / Kosta Perovic (Brandan Wright, Al Harrington)
- Brandan Wright / Richard Hendrix (Al Harrington)
- Stephen Jackson / Al Harrington / Anthony Randolph
- Kelenna Azubuike / Marco Belinelli (Stephen Jackson)
- Monta Ellis / CJ Watson (Marco Belinelli)
If one assumes Ellis and Biedrins are signed to multi-year deals (and there are no longer any obstructions cash-wise whatsoever for the Warriors to do so), the Warriors have a long-term core of Biedrins, Ellis, Wright, Belinelli, and Randolph (the latter three with contracts and team options).
This appears to be a lot of unproven talent. However, their starting five in the coming year are all returning players (unless a splashy free-agent is signed).
Harrington is the wild-card, who can pretty much play back-up for any position, from three to five. Or, the Warriors could have Jackson move over to SG and re-insert Harrington into the starting line-up.
By no means is this a scary team to the rest of the imposing forces of the NBA.
It is, however, one with a growing, young "potential" (the danger word) core.
Very small consolation to the Bay Area fans. But one thing can be said: for all the griping that the Bay Area fans have given, they've been behind the Warriors through a lot of down times.
They deserve more. Will they ever get it?
(See Part II for more).