The Golden State Warriors are back in the playoffs and they're hoping that this won't be a one-time occurrence as it was six years ago.
For that to happen, the Warriors need big contributions from developing players, coaching progressions from Mark Jackson and savvy roster-building from general manager Bob Myers and Jerry West.
They did so this season when they acquired two veterans in Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. Throw in the additions through the draft of Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli, and this is a good start for management.
However, if and when the playoffs end, the Warriors will have to move forward to next year without the same roster. The reason being that the salary floor may be a bit high for them. According to Hoopsworld, the Warriors skated right under the luxury tax line with the trades of Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler.
In order to avoid luxury tax and repeater tax in future seasons, they'll have to be cap-conscious again. They may not go over, but they aren't in a situation to spend freely, either. All of this is assuming that they won't be able to move the large expiring contracts of both Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson.
There's almost $20 million dead weight between the two of them.
The Warriors are probably as stuck with those contracts as much as we are with the Ray J "feud" with Kanye West.
Back to the contracts, the Warriors combined payroll will go up because Stephen Curry's extension kicks in and everyone else will garner small raises.
One of the players that has a chance to leave is Carl Landry, who has a player option and can opt out if he wants to sign a longer deal with another team.
Though he's made the playoffs for the first time since his first two years with the Houston Rockets, his numbers haven't been much different from previous seasons. Landry remains a solid contributor off the bench who can post up and finish, but lacks passing ability and defense.
Keep in mind that Landry didn't sign with a team until late in free agency last offseason, perhaps alluding to the fact that clubs were hesitant to pay him. While he might spark some interest, I'd guess he'd want to stay around for a young, contending team for another season.
Another player that might not be back, though highly unlikely, is either Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes. Since the New Orleans Hornets were keen on trading Eric Gordon during the season and it appeared the Warriors at least picked up the phone, this bit of news is applicable.
Bob Myers might not be as shrewd in trading a core piece after a playoff appearance, but we cannot guess what he will or will not do. However unlikely it may be, it shouldn't surprise people if one of the two core wing players gets traded for what was once seen as a franchise guard in Gordon.
And onto the biggest dilemma for Bob Myers and management: what to do with pending free-agent Jarrett Jack?
Jack is in the last year of a four-year contract he signed and is probably in store for another long-term contract for a guard-needy team. The Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards immediately come to mind.
Not only has he had another solid campaign, but he's been the emotional and physical leader for the Warriors.
Jack can be seen pumping his teammates and engaging them despite slow starts to games. His presence on the team has lessened the onus on David Lee and Curry to consistently carry the team.
The veteran point guard will assuredly look for a long-term contract and the Warriors may not be prepared to give him what he wants. Despite the strong year he's had, he is somewhat expendable for an up-and-coming team.
For a team that shoots the most efficient from three, Jack attempts too many long twos to fit into the schemes. Next year's additions can theoretically alleviate the loss.
The pending health status of Brandon Rush and Bogut along with the improvements of Thompson and Barnes should take this team to another level. All of this is just rhetoric, and might just be the spin the Warriors use to let go of a sturdy guard in Jack.
In conclusion, a young team with such a dysfunctional history is actually one of the most stable rosters in the NBA. With no first-round picks and little money to sign a big free agent (at least until 2014), the loss of Jack is the only subtraction they'll have to deal with, and that might not be the worst thing for this team.
Statistical support for this piece provided by NBA.com, unless stated otherwise.
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