Not content to have a bad team with a bad coach but some recognizable names and some big contracts, the Warriors have been working like crazy (work ain't bad, give them that) to prove that they did not, in fact, completely tie their own ineffectual hands with Richard Jefferson and other ill-advised moves of late.
Today, it appears they have squeezed out a little one year rental on the possibly very unhealthy Carl Landry, which, in their infinite wisdom, they agreed to allow to potentially cripple them totally next offseason should Landry be a total sack of excrement: he has a player option and, with Curry due an extension, etc., should about cancel out whatever their expiring contracts would have netted if he exercises it. If they give Brandon Rush more than one year, it gets even worse, regardless of price tag. I would not be surprised by a three year, $10 million deal for Rush. His decline in the second half of his contract season this past year says he should take that quickly and quietly. It won't get better next year. He is slated to be Dorell Wright II now.
The updated salary outlook this season says they must renounce/wave byebye to Dominic McGuire due to roster limits and, perhaps, waive Charles Jenkins NOW in order to avoid the luxury tax OR to keep McGuire instead of lose him. Kent Bazemore is a potential midseason cut but he's here now, supposedly, so McGuire or Jenkins cannot be. Basketball reasons, of course. The Bazemore announcements may have been premature and the Warriors may have finally burned their last bridge to Summer League and camp invitees if they pull the rug out from under Bazemore now.
Salary Protection is not even close to put to bed by today's announcement(s). And the Ellison discussion will get even louder as this athletic trainer's nightmare of a sick ward roster goes to work in the Fall.
1. Bogut: $13 million
2. Lee: $12.744 million
3. Jefferson: $10.164 million
4. Biedrins: $9 million
5. Jack: $5.4 million
6. Landry: $4 million
7. Curry: $3.958742 million
8. Rush: $4.385416 million
9. Thompson: $2.22216 million
10. Green: $.8 million (roughly- 3 year, $2.6 million contract)
11. Tyler: $ 0.762195 million
12. Jenkins: $ 0.762195 milion (unguaranteed if waived before August 1)
13. Barnes: $2.79804 million (120% rookie scale #7)
14. Ezeli: $1.02096 million (120% #30)
15. Bazemore: Who knows... Let's say north of $475K but under $800K
TOTAL: $71.492708 million minimum
Luxury Tax level: $70.307 million
For the worst of reasons, the Lacob & co. PR team (Ray Ridder/Flunkster Dude the AstroTurf Wonder LapDog PROMOTED under Lohan, not fired) turned luxury tax payment into a marketable signal of basketball competence and relevance. This is the greatest ticket sales gimmick since faking a legit team sale only to keep all the same assholes running the team as before long enough to kill off the new car smell and then let a walking sexual harassment suit head up major talent calls long enough to get the smell of cocaine, hookers, and failed "attempts" thoroughly infused into the upholstery. So now they will give up loads of good handout money and pay a bit of tax this year, lose additional signing flexibility next year, and all with no guarantee at all that they are appreciably better.
After all the talk of defense-first focus last year, the team just cut its top defender (McGuire) whether they waive him or not, because Landry PLAYS or he WALKS. And those two either play the same position or someone else who needs minutes loses time. Play them together and you have McGuire at SF and David Lee or Andrew Bogut off the floor. Fine by me but suddenly your big ticket bigs are part time players. Seems unlikely. There are too many average players who demand minutes on this team, not enough front line difference-making talent. And the financials are a total mess desipte some short term positioning by the team that does deserve credit on its own terms. But once Stephen Curry's big extension kicks in, that theoretical foresight dies quickly and painfully.
This all, for now, has the designed look of a big step that proves naysayers wrong: this team will pay tax and was NOT "done" with moves just because they got Richard Jefferson. And they CAN attract "name" talent. But the Warriors look like they are operating for any reason BUT basketball these days, and that is no change at all from the previous regime. In the meantime, smart folks should now have flipped to wishing the team was not paying the tax on a team like this, which was one argument within the Warriors' own management ranks according to rumors of their spending limit. In the most likely and all-too-Warriors scenario now, we can all just wait for the inevitable cash dumps and further distortion of clear team direction and core certain to come down the pipes as yet another washout Warriors PR season goes down the tubes in the coming months.