Thursday, July 3, 2008

MAX OFFER TO BRAND IS NOT THE ANSWER

The Warriors are aggressively pursuing the services of Elton Brand by offering him a reported 5 years / $90+ million deal. OK. Suppose he agrees to this offer. Well, the Warriors will be elated that they stuck it to the Clippers for stealing Baron Davis from under our noses (and getting nothing in return). Baron, who screwed the Warriors by opting out at the last minute, is left leading a Brand-less team through the tough Western Conference. Brand will be a big name that casual and bandwagon fans recognize and see as a worthy response to losing their best player. Brand might lead us to the playoffs IF he remains healthy - he may even lead us out of the 1st round. But can he vault this team into contention? With so many holes in the roster and such a young crew, I have serious doubts.

They will probably do well initially, but after the honeymoon is over a couple of seasons later, the Warriors will find themselves saddled with a prohibitively large contract that will be difficult to move if things don't go well or in the likely event Brand falls to injury. With holes in the lineup to fill, his deal severely limits our moves down the road. With an owner that fears the Luxury Tax as much as Chris Cohan, the chances of fielding a contender if things go wrong with Brand are slim.

The Warriors should spend less money on a young rising star that doesn't have a history of injury (wasn't that the main reason they were reluctant to extend Davis?) and has a good chance of rounding out a roster of prototypical Nellie-ball players. Questions remain if Brand's body is able to withstand the rigors of a run-and-gun style of offense. It was that style of play that made the Warriors fun to watch, not necessarily Baron Davis. If Mullin assembles the best athletic and skilled players he can find, we'll have more success in the playoffs and beyond than we had even when Davis was leading the team.

If Brand didn't have that ruptured Achilles tendon, I'd be on board with the deal 100%, but that is not the case. In addition to the Achilles injury, he was forced to withdraw from Team USA because of knee problems. The reality is, even with Brand (at his age and injury history), this team is not a serious contender. There still needs to be moves made that would likely end up costing us a lot of our young guys (Wright, Randolph, Belinelli) and future draft picks in order to get to the level of a legitimate championship contender. A maximum deal to a player that averages 68 games per year is a risky proposition that can potentially be an albatross contract on the organization in the not so distant future - one deal that will be difficult to move.

Rumored deal is 5 years / $90+ million:

Year 1: $15.5m
Year 2: $16.7m
Year 3: $18.1m
Year 4: $19.5m
Year 5: $21.1m (age 34)

Warriors need to forget about this Brand dream and commit to going young and developing the youth. I'm hoping that the Clippers sweeten their offer enough to persuade Brand to stay in LA. Best case scenario is if the Clippers are forced to do a sign and trade deal for Baron that nets us picks or prospects in return. Let the young Warriors take their lumps, get a high lottery pick, and look for the next Brand in the draft - a younger, healthier version. Save the valuable cap space for a young rising star, not a falling one.

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