David West

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors may be on the precipice of breaking new luxury tax records but that seems like a suitable trade off for their run as one of the most dominant franchises in NBA history.

Sure, they’ll inevitably need to finesse things with their four core superstars but that doesn’t mean the club can’t still make a handful of responsible moves in the summer of 2018 to make their lives slightly simpler when push comes to shove.

The Warriors issued a pile of short-term deals last summer and may be in position to do so again. At the end of the day, retaining flexibility and not overpaying for players that aren’t business critical will be their top priorities.

Omri Casspi, SF, 30 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017
Casspi has bounced around the NBA over the course of the past nine seasons, occasionally showing glimpses of solid value as a rotation player but his role with the Warriors may be his most relevant yet. While Casspi’s 16.1 minutes per game are the second least of his career (he played sparingly for the Cavs in 2012/13), he’s shown that he’s a competent bit character in Golden State’s title defense and the organization should look to retain that. Casspi can plug into the Warriors rotation when needed, as evidenced by the 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game he averaged in 14 December games, but his modest resume doesn’t demand consistent time or big-time money. It seems like both parties would benefit from his return on another cheap deal but don’t rule out other contending hopefuls trying to poach him away.

Kevin Durant, PF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $53MM deal in 2017
After taking a discount so that the Warriors could retain players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, Durant will have the chance to turn down his player option and go after a bigger contract now that the team’s other core pieces are in place. Durant is on a short list of players with enough clout to bounce from short-term deal to short-term deal, retaining future flexibility and keeping general managers on their toes but he could also ink a four-year max pact and go about his business. While Durant strikes me as the type of personality that may prefer the latter, he could potentially opt for the former if for no other reason than to give the organization options as they gear up for their forthcoming years-long battle with the repeater tax.

Kevon Looney, C, 22 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2015
The Warriors made the decision to turn down the fourth-year of Looney’s rookie contract because at that point he hadn’t been able to show much value over the course of two injury plagued seasons. Looney has had a bit more of a chance to showcase his skills in 2017/18 but not enough to warrant major free agency interest. The Dubs may be able to bring Looney back on a minimum deal next season if they like the intangibles that he brings outside of game days but there’s no obvious case for it aside from the fact that they’ll need bodies and they know what he brings to the table.

Patrick McCaw, SG, 22 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $1.9MM deal in 2016
The Warriors seem receptive to developing McCaw into a potentially reliable rotation player, as evidenced by their decision to start him six times already this season. To this point in the season, however, he hasn’t exactly flourished when given the opportunity. McCaw’s situation is much like Looney’s. He’ll be a cheap option that they’ve worked with in-house. Given the financial restraints that the front office will be dealing with due to the rest of the roster, they may be happy to retain a 22-year-old that they can at least potentially groom into a reliable rotation player.

JaVale McGee, C, 30 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017JaVale McGee vertical
McGee put forth his most notable season in years when he debuted with the Warriors in 2016/17 but hasn’t replicated that success in 2017/18. Due to matchup issues in the small ball era and the emergence of rookie Jordan Bell, the team just doesn’t need McGee’s energy and length as much as it did in his first year with the team. Considering that the big man isn’t getting any younger, it’s hard to imagine him landing much on the market if all he could manage to yield after last year’s solid campaign was another one-year, minimum contract.

Zaza Pachulia, C, 34 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.5MM deal in 2017
The Warriors have started Pachulia in all 109 of the games that he’s suited up in over the course of his two years with the franchise but this year his time on the court has dropped to its lowest point since 2009/10. Could that be an indication that the club is open to moving on in 2018? The Dubs gave Pachulia, a dinosaur in today’s game, more money than they needed to last summer but now that finances are even tighter, they may not be so generous. Expect Pachulia in a reserve role for the veteran’s minimum, if he’s even back in the Bay Area at all.

David West, C, 37 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal in 2017
West has been an extremely productive role player for the Warriors off the bench in 2017/18, exactly what basketball fans outside of northern California feared when the former All-Star decided to crawl onto the Dubs’ bandwagon in 2016. West has had old-man game since he broke into the league, so regression isn’t exactly an issue. Expect him back playing meaningful minutes with Golden State until he decides to retire.

Nick Young, SG, 33 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.2MM deal in 2017
Young is a potent three-point shooter that slots in well with the rest of Golden State’s rotation but does he provide enough to justify what his $5M+ contract will amount to when the luxury tax bill is calculated? The Warriors may gauge Young’s receptiveness to returning on a cheaper deal in 2018/19. If he isn’t interested, expect him to pound the pavement and eventually land somewhere as a hired gun on a short-term deal. If logic prevails, he’ll be a valuable depth piece with the Warriors for years to come… but that might be a big if.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Walton, Caldwell-Pope, West, Williams

The Lakers mishandled the latest controversy involving LaVar Ball, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The outspoken father of rookie Lonzo Ball said over the weekend that coach Luke Walton has lost control of the team and that players no longer enjoy playing for him.

The comments drew a harsh reaction from other coaches such as the Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle, the Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy and the Warriors’ Steve Kerr, but Bontemps says Lakers management failed to speak out swiftly to defend Walton.

GM Rob Pelinka turned down two requests to talk to reporters at Sunday’s game, then team president Magic Johnson did the same at Monday’s practice. Bontemps notes this would have been a perfect opportunity to support Walton and send a message to LaVar Ball, but the team leaders remained silent.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is ready to move on after completing a 25-day jail sentence, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Caldwell-Pope was released for games and practices, but wasn’t permitted to leave California for road trips. “Paid my debts and all,” he said. “… Everything is done. Put that behind me. Moving forward, finish my season. Just happy to be home. Just a minor setback for me, [but there’s a] lot of things I gotta change. Lotta things I gotta improve on. Had a lot of time to think about it.”
  • Warriors forward David West heard a lot of second guessing when he turned down a $12.6MM option with the Pacers in 2015, but he tells Chris Hayes of ESPN he doesn’t think he would still be playing without that decision. He signed a $1.4MM contract with the Spurs that year and has taken similar deals with the Warriors the past two seasons. “I would have retired, man,” West said. “That would have been it, because I wanted to compete for a championship. I needed to experience that. So, if I played out my contract there, that would have been it. I was walking away. I wanted to feel like I was playing for something.”
  • After hitting a game-winning shot Monday, Clippers guard C.J. Williams has another important occasion coming up, notes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Playing on a two-way contract, Williams has used 40 of his 45 allowable days in the NBA. Injuries have forced Williams into the rotation, as he has started 12 games and is averaging nearly 20 minutes per night. To keep him, the Clippers will have to sign him to a regular contract or a 10-day deal by the end of the week. “We’re going to start a ‘GoFundMe Fund’ for C.J.,” coach Doc Rivers joked after the game. “We need some donations.”

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Durant, Triano

The Clippers have struggled to get reliable production from the point this season, largely because Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverley have been sidelined extensively and Austin Rivers is better suited to play the role of combo guard. Stepping up as a playmaker then, has been power forward Blake Griffin. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that Griffin has manned the point not unlike standout rookie Ben Simmons has to much fanfare.

Not only do guards on the roster consciously look to feed Griffin the ball to bring up the court, the 28-year-old has done well to create offense when he gets it. Through 18 games this season, Griffin leads the Clippers with 5.0 assists per game, all while posting his highest scoring average in five years and chipping in 7.7 rebounds per contest for good measure.

He’s always been able to handle the ball and he’s always been a real Mack truck coming down the floor in transition with the ball,” division rival Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “If he gets a rebound and he’s breaking out, he’s hard and it’s difficult to guard.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The young Suns are learning first-hand just how much head coaching matters in the NBA, Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic writes. After replacing Earl Watson following a disastrous first three games to start the season, Jay Triano has guided Phoenix to a 7-10 record.
  • The Warriors may have prematurely allowed Kevin Durant to suit up on an injured ankle, Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes. The forward sprained his ankle last weekend but played in Wednesday night’s marquee matchup with the Thunder, something head coach Steve Kerr now regrets. “I’m sure the league is happy with us because we played him on their ‘marquee’ game with and all that stuff. But he came out sore the next day. So we shouldn’t have played him,” Kerr said.
  • Well-suited for his elder statesmen role on the Warriors bench, David West has made an impact with his veteran leadership, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “He’s one of those guys that doesn’t speak unless it’s necessary. He understands when it’s necessary,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s not doing it to hear himself talk. He’s not one of those guys. He’s doing it to impart some knowledge and wisdom. So he picks his spots wisely.”

And-Ones: Pay Cuts, Rookies, Returning Rights

The idea of an NBA player taking a pay cut in order to help a franchise save funds for other players is a noble one but it doesn’t always work out for the individuals who sign at a discount, Steve Kyler or Basketball Insiders writes.

Most recently, Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson was asked if he would consider taking less pay when he hits free agency in the summer of 2019, like his teammate Kevin Durant did this summer.

I probably could, yeah. That much? I don’t know. I don’t make as much as Kevin off the court,” Thompson told The Athletic. “If it’s a few million… It’s a blessing whatever contract I sign. I would definitely consider it cause I don’t want to lose anybody.”

Kyler discusses several cases of players who took pay cuts to play for a winner only to see that shot at a title quickly fade. Back in 2015, David West left eight digits on the table in order to chase a ring with the Spurs but ultimately came up short. The following summer he had to sign on with the Warriors instead, in order to take home a championship.

Jameer Nelson is another striking example of what can go wrong for a player. Nelson was bought out by the Magic in the summer of 2014 and turned around to sign at a discount with the Mavs. Dallas, however, shipped the veteran guard off less than two months into the 2014/15 campaign in the deal that landed them Rajon Rondo.

Of course there are success stories and Kyler references both Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade taking pay cuts to appease franchises that have supported them over the course of their careers. Tim Duncan is another example of a superstar that happily left money on the table in order to preserve the Spurs‘ financial flexibility.

There’s more from around the NBA:

  • While it’s only natural to get excited about the potential of the point guards at the top of the 2017 NBA Draft, don’t expect them to steamroll their way through the league right away. Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider) took a deep dive into the statistical projections of players like Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr. only to conclude that genuinely performing as a Top 100 player in the NBA is exceedingly difficult for a first-year guard.
  • The NBA’s age limit has been a common talking point ever since it was implemented last decade but change could be inevitable, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes. The scribe writes that the prohibition of traditional high school seniors in the NBA draft isn’t about skill but rather about maturity. He also highlights the fact that many of the eligibility rules related to the NCAA-to-NBA pipeline come from the NCAA and not from the big league, itself.
  • Ever wonder what G League writers like Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days are talking about when they refer to players’ returning rights? Consider the following an introduction to the contract mechanism and a crash course in who the most valuable players to whom returning rights apply currently are.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Ball, Warriors, Jordan

The decision to remove DeMarcus Cousins from the equation has brought a sense of happiness and hope around the moribund Kings franchise, Nick Zappulla of RealGM opines. The pieces are now in place for a quick turnaround via the acquisition of Buddy Hield in the trade with the Pelicans along with four promising rookies taken in the draft, particularly floor leader De’Aaron Fox and forward Harry Giles, Zappulla continues. Big men Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein showed progress once Cousins was removed from the picture and the club also brought in three veteran free agents to facilitate the development of the young players, Zappulla adds.

In other items regarding the Pacific Division:

  • The league’s television partners certainly have Lonzo Ball fever, as evidenced by the Lakers’ 35 nationally-televised games next season, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register notes. That’s the fifth-most national broadcasts among all teams despite the franchise coming off a 26-win season. Much of it can be attributed to lottery pick Ball, both for his passing skills and the hype-man routine of his father LaVar, Oram adds.
  • The Warriors’ center rotation is unlikely to change next season despite the presence of some promising young players at the back end, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Zaza Pachulia will continue to start with JaVale McGee backing him up and David West getting minutes there at the start of second quarters, according to Slater. Damian Jones, who was inconsistent in summer-league play, or rookie Jordan Bell could force their way into the rotation at some point, Slater adds.
  • Center DeAndre Jordan realizes the Clippers won’t be the same team without Chris Paul, but expects point guard additions Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic to keep the franchise among the best in the West, Jovan Buha of ESPN.com reports. “Those guys are going to come in and play their style of basketball, and it’s going to be fun,” Jordan told Buha.

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, as Carmelo Anthony made use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. For much of the offseason, Anthony was focused on joining the Rockets, but he eventually agreed to a deal that sent him to Oklahoma City.

Anthony is one of just two NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

David West Re-Signs With Warriors, Will Retire In 2018

JULY 6: The Warriors have officially re-signed West, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

JULY 1: Veteran big man David West has agreed to return to the Warriors on a one-year contract, according to David Aldridge of TNT (via Twitter). Aldridge reports that the 2017/18 season will be West’s last year in the NBA.

The details of West’s deal aren’t yet known, but a minimum salary contract seems likely. West’s minimum salary for 2017/18 is $2,328,652 but the Warriors would only need to pay $1,471,382, as outlined in Hoops Rumors’ minimum salaries chart for next season.

West, 38, sought an NBA championship the last two seasons; he was unsuccessful in his lone season with the Spurs but finally captured the once elusive gold as a member of this season’s Warriors team. In 68 games off Golden State’s bench, West averaged 4.6 PPG and 3.0 RPG while playing just under 13 minutes per game.

Once a perennial 20 PPG threat with the Hornets and a solid contributor with the Pacers, West has embraced his role as a veteran leader and it paid dividends last season. He will give it one more try for another ring next season before calling it a career after what would be 15 NBA seasons.

Warriors Rumors: Free Agents, Iguodala, Livingston

It has been less than four full days since the Warriors won Game 5 of the NBA Finals and captured their second title in three years, but fans and observers are already looking ahead to see how Golden State intends to keep its championship roster together. Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News takes a deep dive into that subject today, breaking down the Warriors’ salary cap options and providing a handful of insider tidbits as well. Let’s round up the highlights…

  • Multiple NBA sources have told Kawakami that it’s all about the Warriors’ Big Four and Andre Iguodala, suggesting that the team won’t break the bank for anyone else on the roster. That includes free-agents-to-be like Zaza Pachulia, David West, Ian Clark, and JaVale McGee.
  • Out of that group of the Warriors’ top five players, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Iguodala are all eligible to become free agents. Kawakami expects Curry to receive a five-year, super-max deal worth upwards of $205MM, while Durant appears willing to accept a 20% raise rather than the full max, allowing the club to stay over the cap to re-sign Iguodala and possibly others.
  • Assuming Durant settles for a 20% raise, look for Iguodala to sign a multiyear deal worth between $8MM and $12MM annually, says Kawakami. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has suggested he expects to re-sign with Golden State and that negotiations are almost done. If another team swoops in with a massive offer, it’s possible Iguodala reconsiders his options, but at that this point, the main question appears to be how many years will be on his new Warriors contract.
  • Shaun Livingston‘s situation is “much more open-ended,” with Kawakami pegging the odds of the point guard’s return as a coin flip. Kawakami speculates that a one- or two-year deal worth $6-7MM per year would be feasible for the Warriors, but Livingston will likely do better than that on the open market.
  • As Kawakami points out, it’s worth keeping an eye on the tax apron, which is projected to be around $127MM for 2017/18. If a team wants to use its full mid-level exception and/or bi-annual exception, it can’t exceed the apron at any point during the league year. If the Warriors go over that number, they’ll be limited to the taxpayer MLE – worth about $5.2MM – and minimum salary contracts for any additional signings.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Durant, Livingston, Kerr

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are willing to be flexible with their contracts to give the Warriors the best shot at repeating, relays Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Curry is eligible for a five-year mega max deal this summer worth about $205MM. His contract would start at about $35.5MM next season and climb to roughly $46.7MM in the final year. “As we go into talks and this whole process — which is obviously new for me — I will approach it as getting the most as I can as an individual, as a player, something I’ve been working for for a very long time,” Curry said. “In the context of keeping the team together, if there are decisions that need to be made, we’ll talk about [a slightly smaller deal] for sure.”

Durant would be eligible for the same contract, but because he just signed with the team last summer, the Warriors don’t have his Bird rights. They would have to renounce Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston to open enough cap space for Durant. An alternative is a 20% raise from this season, which would bump Durant’s salary to $31.8MM and permit Golden State to go over the cap to keep Iguodala and Livingston. “I feel as though I am going to be back here — no question,” Durant said. “We’ll all figure something out, work something out. I want to be here.”

There’s more news out of Golden State:

  • Past dynasties have demonstrated that not everyone can receive fair market value, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. The toughest decisions this summer will involve Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia and David West, three unrestricted veteran free agents who may be looking at their last chance for big-money contracts.
  • Another of Golden State’s 10 free agents is Livingston, who also prefers to stay with the Warriors, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Livingston could be looking at a substantial raise after making a combined $16.5MM in his three years with Golden State. “I think we’ll all love to keep this group together and see what we’re able to accomplish together,” Livingston said. “But we’ll see what happens when that time comes. There’s obviously a domino effect. Guys have decisions to make, but it’s about enjoying this journey, this moment that we’re on right now.”
  • Steve Kerr discusses his unusual role in the title run and his future in coaching in a podcast with Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.

Pacific Notes: David West, Jerry West, Kings, Bell

No one gave up more to be part of this year’s NBA Finals than the WarriorsDavid West, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. The 37-year-old turned down a $12MM player option with the Pacers in 2015 to pursue a ring, signing veteran’s minimum contracts with San Antonio and Golden State. Grange estimates West could have earned about $20MM over the past two seasons if he had sought a long-term deal instead of a championship. “I’m 36 and I’ve been playing basketball for 30 years of my life and you get to a point where [The Finals] is the only environment, the only stage I haven’t been in,” West explained. “I’ve been in high school championships, played collegiately at a high level, but you want to get this final stage and it was an opportunity where personally I felt I had to jump at.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors plan to meet with consultant Jerry West after the playoffs are finished to discuss his future with the team, according to Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. West recently met with the Clippers to discuss a similar role in their organization and confirmed he received an offer. West has been with Golden State for six seasons and GM Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob have said they want him to stay. However, West said isn’t sure if the team still needs his input now that it has risen to the top of the league.
  • Markelle Fultz‘s willingness to visit the Kings is a sign that Sacramento no longer has a toxic reputation among potential draftees, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The Kings, who own picks No. 5 and 10, were only able to bring in one first-rounder, Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin, in last year’s pre-draft workouts. The team has already had sessions with Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson and Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell.
  • Texas center Jarrett Allen, another potential lottery pick, will have a private workout with the Kings today, the team announced on its website. Also on today’s schedule is a group session with SMU’s Semi Ojeleye, St. Mary’s Joe Rahon, Loyola’s Milton Doyle, Texas A&M Corpus Christie’s Rashawn Thomas, BYU’s Eric Mika and Central Florida’s Matt Williams.
  • The Suns are intrigued by Oregon’s Jordan Bell, who worked out for the team Friday, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Bell, who compares himself to Draymond Green, enhanced his reputation when he blocked eight shots in an NCAA Tournament win over Kansas. “I very much take pride in my defense,” Bell said. “That’s what I hang my hat on every time I step on the floor. I think my ability to guard perimeter players, switch on screens and keep people in front of me is definitely something that will help me in the long run and keep me in the league for a long time.”