Saturday, August 2, 2008


If the Golden State Warriors want to sign a superstar like LeBron James, they'll have to renounce ALL of their Free Agents and Team Option players (except Randolph) unless they could trade Maggette (difficult) and Azubuike (easier). That's also if Mullin only commits to low, short term signings for the next 2 years (minimum salaries, 1-year, not guaranteed, and draft picks only).

Estimated Max Salary for 2010 - based on estimated Salary Cap of $62.5M.

$15.63M (25% of cap) for player with 6 or less years in the NBA

$18.75M (30% of cap) for player with 7 to 9 years in the NBA (LeBron = 7 years by Summer 2010)

$21.88M (35% of cap) for player with 10+ years in the NBA

Option 1 - Hypothetical roster achieved by only renouncing players:

PG: Monta Ellis / Brandon Williams (2009 1st)
SG: LeBron James / Kelenna Azubuike
SF: Corey Maggette
PF: Anthony Randolph / DeMarcus Cousins (2010 1st)
C: Andris Biedrins / Ronny Turiaf

Assets renounced or traded for expiring deals, cash or picks: Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Williams, Richard Hendrix, and Anthony Morrow. That's a lot of 'wasted' assets (including the 1st Rounder traded in Marcus Williams deal)...but it's worth it if they are sacrificed for a player like LeBron. However, there are better ways to go about landing a Max player.

Option 2 - Roster achieved by trading Corey Maggette, renouncing Anthony Morrow and trading 2010 2nd Round Pick:

PG: Monta Ellis / Marcus Williams (re-signed starting at $5M)
SG: LeBron James / Kelenna Azubuike / Marco Belinelli
SF: Anthony Randolph / Earl Clark (2009 1st)
PF: Brandan Wright / Richard Hendrix / DeMarcus Cousins (2010 1st)
C: Andris Biedrins / Ronny Turiaf

Loaded. I could also see a version of this scenario where Brandan Wright is traded for a high future draft pick resulting in a starting lineup of Williams, Ellis, James, Randolph, and Biedrins. The Warriors could use that future pick to land a defensive-minded backcourt player or additional help at Center.

By trading Maggette, the Warriors would be able to keep most of their young core and put together a formidable roster that adds a superstar talent. Option 2 would be a very attractive situation to any free agent that is looking for the maximum salary and a team that will have the talent to compete for a title right away.

The likelihood of landing LeBron is very small considering his apparent desire to play in New York, but this exercise should give you an idea of what sort of decisions Mullin will have to make if he wants to put together a team that could contend and not just hover around the late-lottery / 1-and-done playoff team, no-man's land.

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