What to Do With Gerald Wallace?


Jan 25, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Celtics forward

Gerald Wallace

(45) passes off in front of Golden State Warriors forward

Andre Iguodala

(9) in the second half of their NBA basketball game at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

With David Lee being sent to the Boston Celtics in exchange for seasoned veteran, Gerald Wallace, the Golden State Warriors will save about $12 million in tax payments next season.

Taking on Wallace’s one-year, $10.1 million contract, as opposed to Lee’s $15.5 million, will allow the Warriors to pay significantly less in luxury tax payments.

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It seems clear that this trade only benefits the Warriors for financial reasons. Wallace only played in 32 games for the Celtics last season, only tallied a total of 35 points and 57 rebounds during that time. Wallace spent a majority of his heyday with the Charlotte Bobcats, earning one All-Star appearance and one playoff appearance during his tenure there. His best days are behind him now, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to make a valuable impact on the court due to his heavy mileage and nagging injuries.

The Warriors also don’t have a gaping hole in their roster that Wallace can fill. With the exception of David Lee, the Warriors are keeping their championship roster intact, a move that can only enhance team chemistry. If Wallace is on still the roster by Opening Night, he probably won’t get an important role on this squad except being a veteran player that can offer guidance and leadership.

Spare minutes could be better spent by developing James Michael McAdoo or the newest draft acquisition, Kevon Looney. The Warriors already have plenty of depth at the 3,4, and 5 positions. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green are unlikely to see a reduction in minutes given their overall performances last season. With Festus Ezeli‘s noticeable improvements as showcased throughout the playoffs, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t see more minutes as he continues to get better. Wallace is three years removed from putting up decent numbers with the Nets and is entering his 15th season.

As he is now, he simply doesn’t have any chance at providing a huge contribution to the team this season.

The Warriors do have the option of using the stretch provision on Wallace. With this, they can stretch his $10.1 million contract out evenly throughout three seasons (about $3.368 million per year) and waive him. This would drop their luxury tax payments down to only $11 million for this season. They can either choose to stretch his contract, or if they choose not to, take a small financial blow, and have his contract completely off the books for next season, leaving room for a huge free agent in 2016. According to Yahoo’s Marc Spears, the Warriors have decided not to use the stretch provision just yet. It does not seem like they want to take on any additional salaries after this season.

The Warriors are most likely better off swallowing his contract for this season which leaves them with more cap space to pursue a mega free agent like Kevin Durant next summer. If anything, maybe the medical staff can work its magic so that Wallace can provide limited, but impactful minutes. The Warriors don’t have to make a decision on Wallace’s situation until August 31st.

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