The bank only has so much money, could the Dallas Mavericks capitalize on the Warriors eventual salary cap crunch?
Last year, the Golden State Warriors had one of the most successful seasons in NBA history that as a result, will lead to some key players cashing in very soon. Over the past two offseasons we have seen them dish out 15 million a year to Klay Thompson along with a massive 5 year contract this past offseason to Draymond Green. They also still have Andrew Bogut and Andre Igoudala signed up for over 11 million each over the next two years.
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Oh, there’s also this guy named Stephen Curry who will be due an extension next fall that will probably take a decent chunk out of the bank.
The Warriors enter this season with two young players due extensions that can most likely cash in next summer if they hit free agency: Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli. With both players playing big roles in the team’s success last season, the Warriors could face a hard decision to pick which one they want to keep. Even though Iguodala could fill Barnes spot in the starting lineup, I think it would be Barnes if they have to pick.
First off, as mentioned above, this would be a deal centered around freeing up salary cap on the Warriors front. They could also entertain the idea of trading Andrew Bogut instead of the younger Ezeli, but in this scenario I have them holding on to their anchor and veteran.
In this deal, the Warriors would get a solid backup center replacement in Zaza Pachulia that could spell Bogut’s toughness off the bench. He is due a little over 5 million this year, but it does expire at the end of this season.
Apr 4, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) dribbles during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
In getting Raymond Felton, they would get another body to get some backup point guard minutes behind Curry with Leandro Barbosa. Felton wouldn’t give them what Livingston did, but he could give them some decent minutes along with an expiring contract.
The intriguing piece is possibly Dwight Powell and how the Warrior view him. With the recent injury to Kevin Looney, Powell could give them some solid minutes off the bench behind Green at the power forward spot. With the Warriors preaching the gospel of small ball, Powell could even play some center minutes for them in some stretches.
Perhaps he most important part of this deal is that the Warriors would be clearing money off their books for next season while still getting players back that can help them win now at the same time.
The centerpiece for this deal for the Mavs would obviously be the young center in Festus Ezeli. The 25-year-old has made strides while coming off the bench behind Bogut in Golden State. His playoffs per 36 minutes would have him at 14 PPG, 12 RPG, and 2 BPG in last years postseason.
“The centerpiece for this deal for the Mavs would obviously be the young center in Festus Ezeli”
Now this obviously has to do with how the Mavericks view the potential of Ezeli and if he can be a cornerstone center in the middle. If they view him as that, then making this trade and locking him up to an extension would be beneficial to both parties.
In the deal, we see Shaun Livingston being shipped to Dallas for two reasons. One is because Livingston is on contract for another year, which is more cap space that will be taken up for the Warriors. Even though his next year’s salary is non-guaranteed, if the Warriors need that salary space, it is better to get something for him then simply release him next summer.
The other reason is he would be beneficial to the Mavericks. Even though Dallas has Devin Harris and J.J. Barea as backup guards, Livingston would give them a little more versatility, depth, and defense at the position. Plus, the chances of Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews playing all 82 games is pretty slim.
If you are new to our Dallas Mavericks Trade Options series, then take a look back at our pieces on bringing Blair back and if the Mavs would be interested in the Bulls’ Taj Gibson. All of these pieces are purely speculative with no rumors attached as we look into how active the Mavs will be this season and possible trades they could be interested in.
So if the Warriors decided to part ways with Ezeli for salary purposes and you were in the Mavs front office, would you do this deal?
Sir Charles In Charge