Andris Biedrins

Warriors in full salary dump mode

Warriors fans, your dreams have finally come true. Dan Gadzuric finally gets to call Oakland his professional home.

If you enjoyed Mikki Moore, D.J. Mbenga, Patrick O’Bryant and Todd Fuller, you’re going to be really excited about this center. Skilled, graceful, and a threat from anywhere on the floor, Gadzuric is just what the Warriors need to contend in the Western Conference! Get that new logo’d gear while it’s hot!

The Warriors started the day with the No. 34 pick and an overpaid but productive small forward. They end the day (as long as they don’t dump more salary before the day is done) with no second round pick, no Corey Maggette, some cash from Portland, Gadzuric and Charlie Bell, who should be only slightly more useful to the Warriors next year than Speedy Claxton (actually, maybe less since he shoots 38% from the floor and will probably play at least 25 mpg on the 2010/11 Warriors).

Financially, both deals save the Warriors money in the short- and long-term. And for an ownership group looking to lower current liabilities, today was a great success. $2 million just to move 10 spots down in the second round (a la Phoenix whenever Robert Sarver feels like saving some coin), then relief in the form of no longer having to pay Maggette $10M/yr for the next three seasons. Instead they get the expiring contract of Gadzuric and two years of Bell at about $4M per (with a 15% trade kicker, ugggh). Hopefully for the Warriors, this Bell will be more valuable than the one they got in their last major contract dump (Raja). And hopefully the Warriors, with progressively less owed in the form of future salary as the summer goes on, will look all the more enticing to Larry Ellison (or any billionaire with a pulse at this point).

Now the Warriors are left with a pretty big hole at small forward pretty much everywhere. Let’s check out the roster as it looks right now (guys under contract only):

Point Guard: Stephen Curry, Bell

Shooting Guard: Monta Ellis

Small Forward: Kelenna Azubuike, Vlad Radmanovic, Reggie Williams

Power Forward: Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright

Center: Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Gadzuric

No wonder Larry Riley wants to trade the No. 6 pick for a veteran who’s at least somewhat useful. Even if they re-sign Anthony Morrow (maybe), C.J. Watson (doubtful), Anthony Tolliver (probably), Chris Hunter (hopefully not) or Devean George (oh God no), this is one terrible squad. And since they still don’t have any salary cap flexibility, and no decent FA would ever sign with the Warriors for the mid-level, and draft choice No. 6 is just when the draft goes from “kind of positive” to “positively underwhelming,” the Warriors are going to be even worse next year than they were last year — unless Curry and Randolph become stars and they somehow experience a year’s worth of good luck injury-wise. On a team where only two of their returning players didn’t miss significant time due to injury last season. Yeah, that’ll happen.

You know what will probably happen? Nobody will offer anything to the Warriors for the sixth pick besides crappy vets with crappy contracts, and they’ll trade down or out of the first round (and the draft) altogether for another cash infusion — which Chris Cohan will pocket as he spends the entire season pretending to weigh offers from potential buyers. And because the logo’s new and LeBron, Kobe, and Wade will still come to town 1-3 times next year, people will still buy tickets. The Warriors will sleep through another season, and the fans will keep waiting. Waiting to be woken up from a nightmare that never ends.

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