Warriors traded themselves out of free agent market

Warriors traded themselves out of free agent market
March 15, 2012, 9:52 pm
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When the new Warriors ownership group took over, they madeit clear that they believed Golden State could be a destination franchise forbig-time free agents and soon.But judging by the teams recent moves and factoring intheir humbling 2011 offseason, it seems apparent that owner Joe Lacob and theteams front office realizes clearing cap space to attract an elite free agentisnt viable at this point.And now wont be for a few years.
Whether it was taking on salary to acquire Andrew Bogut orliving with an extra year on Richard Jeffersons contract, its obvious theWarriors wont be a significant player in the free agent market anytimesoon.NEWS: Warriors trade Jackson for Jefferson
They now have big-money players Richard Jefferson, AndrisBiedrins and Andrew Bogut under contract through 2014; and the biggest moneyplayer of them all, David Lee, is locked up through 2015-16.In other words, unless the Warriors focus changesdramatically and in a hurry, theyll be capped out for at least the next twoseasons. Of course, theres nothing wrong with that; it just means they will beno factor when players such as Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, BlakeGriffin, Josh Smith and others become free agents in the next couple ofyears.That wasnt supposed to be the case.In truth, its probably a sound strategy. After all, theWarriors cleared significant cap space this past offseason and were unable toland any of their targeted players.They offered Tyson Chandler a contract worth close to 70million over four years only to see him spurn the offer to join the Knicks forless money. They also liked both Nene and Marc Gasol, but were given noindication either wanted to sign with Golden State.The Warriors also made an ill-fated run at Clippers centerDeAndre Jordan, who was a restricted free agent. While it was Los Angeles callon whether or not to match the Warriors offer, its obvious Jordan didnt feelstrongly about leaving for Golden State.Before the Warriors made trades this week, they were in aposition to get a pretty good ways under the cap this upcoming offseason perhaps as much as 10 million or so. But by acquiring Bogut and includingKwame Browns expiring contract in the deal they essentially said the heckwith the free-agent game.Trading Jackson for Jefferson was another indication of thatsentiment because Jefferson had one more year and 11 million more on hiscontract than Jackson.On the one hand, its a positive that Lacob and the Warriorsare willing to pony up for second-round picks like they just did with Atlanta and take on an extra year or two of a players salary.On the other, it shows the Warriors dont consider themselvesprime-time players just yet when it comes to luring a difference-maker to theBay Area.

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