Golden State: Open Season to Hunt for Free Agents

Daniel Tran@CrossovrSportsContributor IJuly 1, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 30:  Hakim Warrick #21 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots over Ronny Turiaf #21, Anthony Randloph #4 and Kelenna Azubuike #7 of the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game on March 30, 2009 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Another off-season, another opportunity to shop around for new blood to either jump start a franchise from obscurity or take an established organization to another level. For the Golden State Warriors, it’s the former of the two options that they are seeking.

It’s not that they are a talent-less team; far from it actually. It’s even safe to say that they have more promise then most of the bottom tier teams in the league. They have a winning coach in Don Nelson, an entertaining style of basketball that makes them very fan friendly, and a group of young players that are just waiting to blossom into their primes together.

The problem that the Warriors are having is that with so many young players, they still have not figured out how to win consistently. Injuries hampered the teams progress last season with key starters like Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, and Al Harrington sitting out in for extended periods of time. With a little more luck health-wise and some veteran leadership, this team could be a threat to make the playoffs.

Here are some free agents that may potentially help the Warriors:

1. Jason Kidd (PG)  Can you imagine Kidd running and gunning in Nelson’s free-wheeling system? The team would be able to score 110-plus points in every game, thriving off his court vision and three-point shooting. Not to mention, he will be playing in front of his hometown crowd, which would energize the grizzled veteran even more. I know Stephen Curry is the future at point, but throwing him in as a starter when he only had one year of real point guard experience in college is too much to ask of the young Curry. With Kidd initially taking on the starters minutes, Curry can learn from one of the greatest pure point guards of the era, and integrate Kidd’s game into his own.

2. Lamar Odom (F)  The definition of versatility that Don Nelson loves in his players. Odom can drive the ball past slower, bigger forwards, post-up smaller forwards, handle the ball, make great passes, and drain the occasional outside shot. Oh, and he’s also a talented rebounder that uses his length to great advantage on defense. Sure, the Warriors have Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph with great upside. With Odom in the lineup however, the Warriors get what they hope those two forwards will become in the future. With Wright and Randolph on the bench, the Warriors also strengthen their front court rotation.

3. Shawn Marion (F)  May be a little expensive, but if the Warriors want to win, they may have swallow a luxury tax. Marion would be worth every penny they spend on it. With Marion, you never have to draw plays to get production. He will always get his 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal , and one block a game. Maybe playing in the confines of a Pat Riley and Jay Triano offense will make him appreciate the freedom he received in Mike D’Antoni’s offense and will produce even more in Don Nelson’s offense? Passing on an opportunity to sign on such a versatile player like Marion would be as strange as Marion’s shot mechanics.

4. Ben Gordon (G)  The Warriors already have a great starter at the shooting guard position in Ellis, but adding Ben Gordon as a sixth man would be very beneficial. Remember a time when a rookie Gordon won the Sixth Man of the Year award? His production that year was amazing for a rookie: 15.1 points per game on 40.5 percent three point shooting. Now add some starting experience and an offensive system that rewards quick trigger players and the same production could be achieved, even surpassed. The Bulls are pushing to re-sign him, but they fall out, look for the Warriors to make a play for this three-point shooting machine.

5. Flip Murray (G)  Not that the Warriors need anymore three-point shooting guards, but they could use some depth with established veterans like Murray. The journeyman found a place to show his talents in Atlanta where he was a successful reserve, showing great energy off the bench, displaying his play making and shooting abilities. The young shooting guards the Warriors possess on their bench will be good one day, adding Murray to that bench would make that guard platoon good today.

6. Paul Millsap* (F) — Lacking in size but never in toughness or heart, Paul Millsap can provide the Warriors with some defensive ferociousness down in the paint.  He has a nose for the ball, hauling down rebounds from centers and forwards taller than him and he can finish in traffic.  He would add much needed girth to that lanky front-line.  He would not be the most offensively talented player on the team, but his energy and activity on the boards would get him a solid eight points and eight rebounds a game off the bench.

*Authors note: added after the Detroit Pistons agreed in principle to sign Ben Gordon to a five-year, $50 million contract.


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