As of this writing, Carl Landry has not yet decided whether or not to opt-out of his player option. If he chooses to exercise his option, he will get paid $4 million and continue playing with the Golden State Warriors for at least one more year. If he opts out, he will likely get paid significantly more than $4 million dollars over a longer period of time.
The 30-year-old forward will almost certainly choose to get more money and more security, but let’s take a look at what the Warriors could offer that no other team can match:
1. No Place Like Home
Landry has played on four teams in his six years of playing in the NBA. He has never quite been able to settle down and play for a team for more than two and a half years. The last team he played for more than two complete years were the Houston Rockets during his 2007-09 tenure. He was traded partway through the 2009-10 season, and it wouldn’t be the first time he would be traded from a team during the season. To demonstrate how important Landry’s last season was in the context of his career, 19.7 percent of the minutes over his career have come from his first and only year with the Warriors.
The 29-year-old once said (Courtesy of the Contra Costa Times): “The Warriors are home whether I opt in or out. Hopefully, I can spend the rest of my career here because this is a very special place.”
Clearly, Landry has strong feelings towards Golden State, and the relationships that he has built there are very important to him. Superstar point guard Stephen Curry said: “This is the place for him. He’s bounced around a lot. For him to have hopefully found a home here for the foreseeable future would be huge.”
Switching teams that many times and that often obviously has an emotional toll. The Warriors can offer Landry another year in the same comfortable setting with the same people he has grown close to this last year.
2. A Bright Future
The Warriors have arguably one of the brightest futures of any teams in the league. With a young and talented nucleus, a competent and developing coach and large amounts of cap space in 2014, the Dubs have an ascent to greatness ahead of them. Landry can become part of that rise.
The Warriors are essentially guaranteed to make the playoffs for the next couple years, and that should be something very appealing to a player whose window to make an impact on a team is closing every year. Landry will be 30 years old at the start of next season and will need to start thinking about how to spend his next years of relevance.
With the Warriors, Landry already has his niche carved out and will only get more playtime next season. Sure, he might be getting paid less, but at the same time, he is making a meaningful impact on a team that is changing its historic identity from a failure to a success. Landry has never made it past the second round in the playoffs, and the Warriors offer him a great chance to do just that.
3. Everything here is what you want
In the same interview that I quoted above, Landry continued to say, “Everything here is what you want: the city, the fans, the front office, the coach, the teammates. You can’t ask for anything more.”
Up until recently, no one would have thought that quote would be in reference to the Warriors. With competent management in Joe Lacob, a solid coach in Mark Jackson, a city with a rich history in San Francisco (and Oakland) and obviously the most famous fans in the NBA, the Warriors have it all.
Landry has never, and probably will never, play in front of 900,000 of the loudest and most energetic fans in sports if he chooses to leave the Warriors. He needs to think carefully about whether the money he gains from another deal will outweigh the “perfect storm” the Warriors can offer.