Though Carl Landry has expressed interest in returning to the Golden State Warriors, it appears increasingly likely that he signs with a different team this offseason, either for a higher salary or better chance at winning the title.
To begin free agency, Landry was linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers and his hometown Milwaukee Bucks. Of course, it is possible that Landry and his representatives had communicated with teams beyond those reported.
Since then, the free-agency landscape has changed. The Cavaliers drafted Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He will join Tristan Thompson as the second young power forward on the team’s roster, likely taking them out of the market for Landry.
After re-signing David West to a three-year, $36 million contract, the Pacers are also likely out of the running for Landry.
Recently, rumors have surfaced that the Los Angeles Clippers plan to pursue Landry. Though an optimistic Warriors fan may beg to differ, the Clippers appear to offer Landry the greatest chance for playoff success and would re-unite him with former teammate Chris Paul.
So depending on his destination, how would Landry’s departure affect the Warriors?
Last season, he occupied a valuable but not irreplaceable role for the Warriors. Along with Jarrett Jack, he provided much of the offense for the bench units and was a valuable rebounder. However, Landry was more than just a bench role player. He joined David Lee in the frontcourt to form several of the Warriors’ most offensively potent lineups.
Landry was not without his flaws. For all his contributions offensively, he was a poor defender, both individually and as a help defender. He a very inconsistent with help rotations and does not have the quickness to compensate for late rotations.
Landry’s production may be replaceable with improvements from the Warriors’ young frontcourt. Draymond Green, though inconsistent, has shown himself capable of being a much better defender than Landry, while Harrison Barnes is capable of occupying the power forward spot in four-out lineups.
Most of Landry’s suitors will have a limited effect on the Warriors’ season. Of all his potential destinations, the Trail Blazers are most likely to compete with the Warriors for a lower Western Conference playoff seed, while the Clippers will be among the elite competition in the Warriors’ path.
Landry may be missed, but his departure opens an opportunity for the Warriors’ younger players to develop, presenting short and long-term benefits.