Offseason In Review: Golden State Warriors

November 20 2013 at 9:00am CDT By Luke Adams

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Extensions

Trades

  • Acquired Malcolm Lee and the No. 26 pick in 2013 from the Timberwolves in exchange for a 2014 second-round pick and $1.6MM in cash.
  • Acquired the No. 29 pick in 2013 and $1MM in cash from the Thunder in exchange for the No. 26 pick in 2013.
  • Acquired the No. 30 pick in 2013 from the Suns in exchange for Malcolm Lee and the No. 29 pick in 2013.
  • Acquired Andre Iguodala from the Nuggets and Kevin Murphy from the Jazz in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick (to Nuggets), along with Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, a 2014 first-round pick, a 2017 first-round pick, a 2016 second-round pick, a 2017 second-round pick, and cash (all to Jazz). Iguodala was signed-and-traded for four years, $48MM. Murphy was subsequently waived.

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

Two Western teams saw their 2012/13 seasons come to an end in the second round of the postseason this past spring. For the Thunder, whose offseason we covered yesterday, the end result was viewed as a disappointment, though perhaps an inevitable one following Russell Westbrook‘s season-ending injury. The Warriors, on the other hand, exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations by giving the eventual Western champs (the Spurs) a run for their money. While the club fell well short of a title, it’s hard to consider ’12/13 anything but a success for Golden State.

There are a number of ways the Warriors’ front office could have handled that unexpected success. Many teams would have been content to bring back virtually the same roster, tweaking the edges here and there in hopes that minor upgrades would be enough to take the next step. But GM Bob Myers and the Warriors certainly didn’t play it safe this summer, opting instead to pursue a pair of the top free agents on the market.

Of course, heading into July, the Warriors’ ability to go after marquee free agents was limited by the team’s cap situation. There was already about $70MM in salary on the Warriors’ books for 2013/14, meaning that they wouldn’t even be able to retain players like Jarrett Jack or Carl Landry without going well into luxury tax territory. In order to make a run at anyone significant, the team needed to clear at least two of its four major contracts: The expiring deals for Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins, and Richard Jefferson, and David Lee‘s long-term contract.

While I wasn’t privy to the thinking of the Warriors’ front office, I have to imagine that the moves the club made on draft night influenced the subsequent decision to trade away multiple first-round picks. In a series of three draft-day deals, Golden State managed to essentially buy the 30th overall pick for the modest price of $600K. It may not always be that simple for the Warriors to trade their way into the draft, but it still likely helped convince Myers and Co. that giving up future first-rounders expected to fall in the 20s wasn’t the end of the world.

So the Warriors did just that, striking an agreement with the Jazz that saw Golden State offload more than $24MM in expiring contracts (Jefferson, Biedrins, and Brandon Rush), along with four draft picks — two first-rounders and two second-rounders. The move didn’t give the team the necessary cap space to sign guys like Dwight Howard and/or Andre Iguodala outright, but it created the flexibility to negotiate sign-and-trades for both players.

Golden State’s pursuit of Howard ultimately fell short, though owner Joe Lacob revealed in October that the club came “a lot closer than people realize” to landing D12. Iguodala, meanwhile, agreed to sign with the Warriors, and the team eventually managed to work him into the previously negotiated swap with the Jazz, turning it into a three-way trade with the Nuggets.

The addition of Iguodala made perfect sense for the Warriors, who were resigned to losing Jack and Landry by that point. Iguodala doesn’t technically share a position with either departed free agent, but like Jack, he can bring the ball up the floor, and his ability to play the three could allow Harrison Barnes to play more significant minutes at the four, helping to replace Landry’s production. The former Sixer and Nugget looks like an ideal fit in Golden State, where he’ll be surrounded with so many scorers that he’ll only be expected to help facilitate, rebound, and defend. Any offense he provides will just be a bonus.

With Jack and Landry on the way out, the Warriors attempted to further shore up the point guard position and the frontcourt by using their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions to the fullest. Golden State used its MLE to land Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas, and its BAE to sign Jermaine O’Neal. None of those players will contend for Sixth Man of the Year like Jack did, but they should all be productive contributors off the bench. Given the injury histories of starters like Stephen Curry and Bogut, those bench players could ultimately play very important roles before the season is over.

Speaking of Bogut, the Warriors’ most questionable move of the offseason came right at the end, when the team locked its starting center up to a three-year extension worth $36MM (plus incentives). If the Australian stays healthy all season and plays like his old self, the extension will look prudent, as Curry’s did a year ago. But it’s been a long time since Bogut played a full season, and if he’s not past his prime yet, he certainly will be by the end of his new contract. The Warriors may not have had many other options at center next summer, but the deal still looks a little too risky for my liking.

Nonetheless, the riskiness of Bogut’s extension seems to fall in line with Golden State’s overall offseason approach. This is an aggressive and creative front office, one that wasn’t content to stand pat and only make minor adjustments to the roster. Armed with a mix of expensive and inexpensive contracts, along with multiple trade exceptions, the club could still have a trick or two up its sleeve. But for now it’s up to the current core to make the team’s bold offseason look good by building on the promise shown by last year’s squad.

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