So the NBA has a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place (for all intents and purposes) so that means we get to start dreaming of free agents and messing around with crazy four- and five-team trades.
But first things first there are the little things like dealing with the “amnesty clause,” where a team can rid themselves of a player and clear all of his salary from the cap. So who is the guy that the Warriors are going to amnesty?
There are pretty much three choices: the Warriors could cut David Lee and his huge long term deal, the Warriors could cut the disappointing Andris Biedrins, or they could cut the overpaid and rarely used Charlie Bell.
We will take a look at the merits of each individually.
First up is the safe choice, using amnesty on Charlie Bell:
Bell is one of the oldest players on the roster and is scheduled to make a non-prorated $4 million next season. Last season Bell played in just 19 games and logged a team low 171 minutes but is still the 4th-highest paid player on the roster.
If he were to be amnestied I doubt anyone would miss him. In fact, I bet the casual fan doesn’t even know who he is. If I were a betting man he would be my guess for the guy who’s cut; he doesn’t clear a bunch of cap space but he also doesn’t cost the team much in the way of talent.
Next is the disappointment, using amnesty on Andris Biedrins:
Biedrins has three years at $9 million which for a contending team might not be bad to be paying a second-string big man, but for a team that has little cap room and isn’t a real contender that is a pretty big mistake to have on the books.
The Warriors are looking for a new center (hello, Nene Hilario) and probably for a good reason because this has been a major weakness of the Warriors for pretty much as long as I can remember. Biedrins hasn’t been an offensive force in a couple of years and with injuries and ineffectiveness he has been a major disappointment.
Finally is the major move, using amnesty on David Lee:
Lee is a favorite of owner Joe Lacob so this is a longshot, but Lee is also the biggest ticket item in the Warriors roster. While he is a good player, he is being paid as if he were a superstar when he really is not.
If the Warriors are looking for a long-term rebuilding plan this is probably the way to go. It clears the most cap space and if it’s combined with a trade of Monta Ellis and his contract, the Warriors could choose to build around Stephen Curry and try to build up a long-term contender through a top 10 draft pick next season and supplement with some free agents in the years to come with the cap room.
While the big risk, big reward move is to amnesty David Lee that is not going to happen, no matter what fans or bloggers say. The owners love him and they just paid a ton of money for this team so I don’t think they are going to dismantle it to get a chance at some high draft picks next season.
The likely choice is Bell or Biedrins or just standing pat for this year. This certainly isn’t sexy and doesn’t clear cap space for a big name move in the future, but it might help to rectify some of the bad decisions that were made in the past.