Warriors Likely To Decline McCaw’s Offer Sheet

DECEMBER 30, 6:58pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has confirmed previous reports and expectations that the Warriors are not planning to match the two-year deal for McCaw. The team officially has until 11:59 pm ET tonight to decide, but currently has no plans to do so, according to Wojnarowski.

DECEMBER 29, 6:23pm: The Warriors haven’t indicated how they plan to respond to Patrick McCaw‘s offer sheet, but a pair of writers who cover the team believe they won’t match the two-year deal from the Cavaliers.

Sources tell Anthony Slater of The Athletic that Golden State is “strongly leaning” toward refusing to match and letting the third-year shooting guard go to Cleveland. The Warriors kept a roster spot open for McCaw throughout his unexpectedly long holdout, but they have developed a more pressing need at center. With Damian Jones injured, the team’s top priority is finding another big man, according to Slater, with Robin Lopez the number one candidate if he negotiates a buyout in Chicago.

Alfonzo McKinnie has performed well in McCaw’s absence and seems likely to be kept on the roster as his contract becomes fully guaranteed next month. Slater states that Warriors owner Joe Lacob is unhappy about how McCaw handled the situation. Lacob paid $2.4MM to the Bucks two years ago to acquire the draft pick that was used to select him.

Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News believes the front office made its decision on McCaw a long time ago. There was limited contact with the 23-year-old after he turned down a $1.7MM qualifying offer and a subsequent two-year, $5.2MM deal.

“The whole thing has been surprising. We anticipated Pat would be part of our rotation this year,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It just didn’t happen, for whatever reason. We’ll see what happens. Obviously we have a decision to make.”

There are also concerns, both writers note, about bringing McCaw back into a locker room environment where he might not be fully welcome. The Warriors opted not to renounce him in case he became a trade asset, but they’re reached a point where a decision must be made.

Golden State must settle on its next step by tomorrow night — 48 hours after McCaw officially signed the offer sheet. The deal promises him $6MM over two years, although neither season is guaranteed. Contracts throughout the league become fully guaranteed on January 10, so whichever team winds up with McCaw would have to waive him by January 7 — a little more than a week from now — to avoid paying him $3MM for this year.

Because of the luxury tax, it would cost the Warriors more than $11MM to keep McCaw on the roster. He wouldn’t be eligible to be traded until the offseason if the offer sheet is matched.

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