Warriors Getting Spurned by Free Agents

Dec. 10 2010; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trailblazers guard Brandon Roy (7) handles the ball during the first half against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Trailblazers defeated the Suns 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

It’s been no secret: free agents want to go to contending teams because they want to win championships.

Just look at this year’s winner, the Miami Heat. Shane Battier, Mike Miller and Juwan Howard were all veterans wanting one last chance to get a ring—and they got rewarded. How about this offseason? The number of players interested in signing with the Heat has only increased. From Ray Allen to Jermaine O’Neal to Chris Kaman to Elton Brand, everybody wants a shot at playing for an NBA championship – and they are willing to take less money than what they could get with other teams.

One of those “other teams” is none other than your Golden State Warriors, who have had their troubles getting big-name players to suit up at Oracle Arena. The Warriors haven’t had a “star” sign with them in free agency in years, and the only possible reason is that players don’t want to come to a losing franchise. Who wants to come to a team that’s been to the playoffs once in the past eighteen seasons?

Here are a few examples of players spurning the Warriors from this offseason (one of them is still in progress):

  • Brandon Roy – Probably the top free agent on the Warriors’ radar, Roy signs a two-year, $10 million contract with the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves, who have three young and talented phenoms in Kevin Love, Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio. Not only did he spurn the Warriors, but he ignored pleas from GM Bob Myers (his former agent!) and decided he was better off in cold and frigid Minnesota.
  • Jason Kidd – Kidd went to the New York Knicks for three years and $9 million, a contract that the Warriors clearly could have matched. There would have been no better way for Kidd to end his Hall-of-Fame career than by coming back to his hometown. But the only problem was that he wanted to win another championship.
  • Antawn Jamison – Another one of Myers’ former clients, Jamison spurned him to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers at the veterans’ minimum of $1.4 million when the Warriors could have paid him at least $3 million. The only plausible reason: he wanted to win a championship (are you seeing a trend here?)
  • JJ Hickson – Desperate for a backup power forward, the Warriors then went after Hickson, who responded by re-signing with the Portland Trail Blazers.
  • Carl Landry – Landry might be the Warriors’ last hope to get a backup big man. He has expressed that he would like to play for Golden State, and the Warriors have also expressed interest in signing him. So what’s the holdup? Apparently Landry wants more than the Warriors can afford to give him, and he is also considering the Charlotte Bobcats, who can afford to give him a big payday. You know that there’s something seriously screwed up when players would rather sign with the worst team in NBA history than your team.
The point here is clear—if you win games, players will want to play for you. If you lose games, you’ll have to beg and overpay for no-good scrubs to fill a role (just ask Kwame Brown). If the Warriors had won the championship last season, you could bet your bottom dollar that every one of those free agents would be begging to play for Oakland, even if they could get more money elsewhere.
Bob Myers certainly understands, telling Mark Purdy, ”We have to become one of those teams. That’s what we want, to be one of those teams where, when a free agent is looking for a place where he can win a ring, we are a place where they want to choose to play,”.
But if he can’t even get his ex-clients to sign with his team, I wouldn’t put too much faith into the Dubs landing a big-name free agent anytime soon.

Topics: Antawn Jamison, Brandon Roy, Carl Landry, Free Agents, Golden State Warriors, Jason Kidd, JJ Hickson

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