Golden State’s one-year, $7 million deal for big man Kwame Brown, the Michael Jordan-era punchline, isn’t so bad independent of context. Brown was reasonably productive last season in Charlotte, in part because he posted an acceptable turnover rate so out of whack with his slippery-handed career norms that he likely can’t approach it again. Brown is a sturdy post defender and decent rebounder, and on offense he’ll show flashes of the explosion that made him the No. 1 overall pick of the 2001 draft. A team that needs post defense and clearly has no faith in Andris Biedrins can overpay Brown a bit for one season, develop Ekpe Udoh and let Brown walk in the summer.
Not much harm, not much foul.
But the context is troubling. Golden State used its one-time-only amnesty provision to cut Charlie Bell’s $4 million expiring contract and free up the space to sign center DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $43 million offer sheet. The Clippers matched that offer Monday night to keep Jordan, as most of the league expected they would. The Warriors thus blew their one shot at amnesty while Biedrins remains on the books for $9 million in each of the next three seasons for a team that just gave him a pretty glaring no-confidence vote.
The other bonus of using the amnesty now on Bell rather than later on Biedrins is that it opened up more cap space. After cutting Bell and renouncing Reggie Williams, the Warriors had about $10 million in cap space, once you figure in deals for their second-round picks (Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler) and charges tied to empty roster spots. You can do something with $10 million in cap space, even if you can’t sign Nene outright: You can sign a decent player, use the space later to acquire an asset in a salary-dumping trade or land a big name in a sign-and-trade transaction without adding too much salary.
The Warriors took that cap space and used $7 million of it on Kwame Brown. They’ve got a small amount left, but that sliver doesn’t bring the same kind flexibility as a vacant $10 million space. They could have retained amnesty by either keeping Bell or buying him out, and then offered Brown a deal in the range of $5 million to $6 million, using their remaining cap space. Read More…