The clock started ticking on the Golden State Warriors once it hit 12:01AM Thursday morning.
While they don’t have any offers on restricted free agents to match, two other offer sheets that were made in the past two days are set to have a tremendous impact on the future of the team by the Bay.
On Tuesday night, the Charlotte Hornets and Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward agreed a four-year, $63M deal, the maximum deal that could have been offered. As Hayward is a restricted free agent, the Jazz have 72 hours to decide whether to match the offer, or to give up Hayward and get a future draft pick in return.
Less than a day later on Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks made a move against their in-state rivals, coming to terms with Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons. The Mavs offered Parsons a 3 year contract worth slightly over $45M, which all but guarantees that one of the NBA’s most attractive players stays in the Lone Star State.
The question specifically for the Warriors franchise is this: what do these two deals mean for Klay Thompson’s future in Oakland?
The similarities are there. All three are guard/forwards that are entering the primes of their respective careers. Hayward set career highs in points, rebounds and assists per game. Parsons had the best statistical season of his professional career, and helped the Rockets get within a Damian Lillard buzzer beater of the second round of the playoffs. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Thompson also had one of the best years of his career, improving his defense and his overall offensive game.
Arguments can be made for each player as far as who deserves or doesn’t deserve that type of money. The bottom line for the Warriors is that when Thompson becomes a restricted free agent at the end of next year, he’s going to get paid.
That puts a lot of pressure on Joe Lacob, Jerry West and Co.
Do they break up the Splash Brothers to get Kevin Love, or keep their roster and see if a healthy Andrew Bogut and rookie head coach can take them to the next level? While my opinion is that the Warriors need to make a deal for love ASAP, I won’t get into the nitty gritty of why they need to make the move.
It all comes down to whether or not you want to give Love or Thompson a max contract and to me, it’s not even close. If you’re offered a player that is already in the discussion as one of the top 10-15 players in the NBA right now for a guy who’s ceiling is probably in the same range, you take the deal.
There seems to be a consensus in the Bay Area that the Warriors have the upper hand in negotiating for Love. The fact remains that there are a select number of teams that he would want to even play for, and out of those teams, few can match what the Warriors have to offer.
This doesn’t mean that there’s no pressure on the Warriors to act. The Cavaliers are reportedly set to make a run at Love and pair him with LeBron James if the King returns to Cleveland. Flip Saunders, the Minnesota Timberwolves GM also seems content to try and win as many games as possible in 2014 and hope that a good season convinces his franchise player to stay.
In addition, if the Warriors don’t make the move for Love, it’s assumed that they will still have David Lee‘s enormous contract for the next two years. That combined with the salaries of Iguodala, Bogut and eventually Curry’ max extension means there’s going to be very little wiggle room for the Warriors if they find out that this group can’t bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to Northern California.
There’s a lot that can happen over the next few days as LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade are getting ready to decide their futures. While there’s plenty of speculation for each player, the offer sheets for Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward are already on the table. While they don’t necessarily impact the Warriors much in 2014, they do for 2015 and beyond, and as of 12:01AM on July 10th, the clock started ticking on Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors.