Steinmetz: Azubuike Signing's Domino Effect on Warriors

May 4, 2010, 11:08 pm
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May 4, 2010STEINMETZ ARCHIVEWARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEO

Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com
It was a mere formality that Warriors swingman Kelenna Azubuike exercised his player option for the 2010-11 season -- which is what he did on Tuesday.

After all Azubuike said six weeks ago that returning to the Warriors for 3.3 million next season was the logical thing to do.

Simply put, for a player who missed most of this past season, opting out would have been a gamble. So in other words, nobody in Golden States front office was surprised by the move.

Now its time to turn your attention to Anthony Morrow.

The Warriors now have three small forwards under contract -- Azubuike, Corey Maggette and Reggie Williams -- but Morrow is not one of them. He'll become a restricted free agent this offseason, and his future with the Warriors is very much unknown.

Morrow is one of the NBAs best 3-point shooters, and hes improved many parts of his game over the past two years. No Warrior spends as much time in the gym as Morrow and he is one of the most well-liked players on the team.

But unless the Warriors can make some kind of offseason deal, it's a longshot Morrow will be back. Simply put, theres not enough room for him.

As a restricted free agent, the Warriors will have the right to match any offer Morrow would get from another team. Still, the Warriors are unlikely to shell out, say, 3-plus million per year for three or four years for a player who would simply further logjam a position.

Of course, all this could change if the Warriors could find a trade partner for Maggette, but its not like they havent been looking into that for a while now. Its also possible the Warriors might look to trade Azubuike, although he is coming off a serious knee injury.

Morrow went undrafted out of Georgia Tech, but the Warriors signed him to a two-year deal in the summer of 2008. He proceeded to lead the league in 3-point shooting in 2008-09.

Theres no doubt the Warriors can lay claim to discovering Morrow. But if they want to keep him, theyre going to have to figure out how.

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