The Golden State Warriors are reportedly willing to trade David Lee and Harrison Barnes in a deal that would net them Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks. At first glance, this does not appear to be a fair trade-off for Golden State, as they would be getting back a defensive center when they already have Andrew Bogut, who was extended for three years and $36 million last year. Second, the Warriors would be part with Barnes just two years into his career. Under the current landscape in the NBA, holding onto affordable talent is a must, especially since the current Warriors roster puts them over the cap for next season.
But the deal would clear cap space in the future as Lee has two years and $30 million left on his deal, while Chandler would be an expiring $15 million contract. In essence, the trade would allow the Warriors to open up the cap space freed up by Lee a year earlier, which would theoretically allow them to target potential free agents in the summer of 2015.
The deal’s still just a rumor but it does give us a glimpse into the potential motivation of the Warriors’ front office this offseason. A year ago, they traded draft picks and moves salaries around in order to acquire Andre Iguodala, to put the team into contention. The Warriors won 51 games and had the eighth best regular season record in the league.
Mark Jackson is out as head coach, Steve Kerr is in, and the current roster will return next year to make another run. But if the Warriors have intentions of creating cap space for next summer, the package of Lee and Barnes should draw considerable interest out there, especially if the price is simply an expiring contract for next season.
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