I had the chance to conduct a Q&A with Tim Kawakami about Kg, Nelson's retirement and other Warrior Related items.


WW.NET: Warrior Fans are on 24/7 KG watch, is it just a tease or does Mully have it in him to pull off a deal for Kg?

Tim: Since I'm right along there
on the 24/7 Warriors-Garnett watch and have been on sentry duty for 2 years now, it's hard for me to say it's impossible. Actually, I think
it's very possible and that's one thing I think Mullin has always
known: He has the best match for what Minnesota should want. Let
me emphasize SHOULD, because who knows what Kevin McHale, in
his trembly heart of hearts, really wants for KG.

As I've
written a few times, the longer we go into this, the less likely that
other serious bidders are going to stay bidding–Phoenix would be the
big dog in this one. If Phoenix has decided Amare Stoudamire won't be
moved for KG, then the Warriors become the next-most-likely candidate,
it's just up to McHale.

Mullin made the Baron Davis move. He
made the Stephen Jackson/Al Harrington for Dunleavy/Murphy/Diogu move.
He can do big deals. And those were nothing compared to the time
and will he has put into chasing KG. So let's see…

WW.NET: Anyway of acquring Kg, without the trade exception being used to absorb
a Timberwolve contract? We've heard of rumors in which the W's get kg
then trade the exception for Rip Hamilton or Ron Artest?

Tim: I can't see how the
Warriors would get Garnett without taking some bad contracts back–the
talent just doesn't work straight up for a franchise guy like KG,
everybody's finding. I haven't heard your rumors. And I see some
problems with those rumors–for instance, why would Detroit re-sign
Billups then get rid of Rip? I'm sure Chauncey would pretty upset if
that ever happened.

I just don't see how the Warriors do this
without using the exception to take back Jaric or Blount. Hudson was an
option, but looks like he's going to get a buy-out.

WW.NET: Reaction among fans has been unanimous in that the J-Rich deal was good for the Warriors, Do you agree?

Tim: I was never the biggest
Richardson fan, though I always respected his effort and his
determination. I think the first time I said he should be traded was in
his second season, when the Warriors had Arenas coming up as a free
agent and absolutely had to move salaries to clear space for
him–Richardson wasn't a big salary then, but he could've been used as
a lure to help dump Jamison/Forston.

So, as I wrote on draft
night and have written since, I consider the Richardson trade for
Wright plus the exception a terrific deal straight up. If it helps lead
the Warriors to Garnett, it's an incredible trade. I do believe that
Belinelli can step right in and provide almost as much as Richardson
did, right away, and the fact that Don Nelson seems to trust Belinelli
more than he trusted Richardson is a very telling thing.

WW.NET: Baron wants the extension, Give it to him or target Arenas next off-season?

Tim: If I can get Baron to take
a short-term extension (I don't know if he'd do it), that's my first
choice. The Warriors can't possibly give him a four-year extension,
because they'd be tied to him for six years and he'd probably at best
be healthy for two of those. If I extend two more, added to his current
two, that's four years, and might be worth the risk, especially if KG's
around, too.

If Baron demands the long-term, if I'm the
Warriors, I have to buckle down and see if what he gives me this year
and see if he takes the risk of opting out afterwards. It'll be
grueling. But that's the NBA system.

I don't sit and wait for
Gilbert. Mostly, I don't sit around and wait for anybody–it's hard to
draw stars as free agents. Usually, they stay with their own teams, who
can pay them more, offer them one extra year and it's easier for the
star that way. That's what we've almost always seen. Now there are
sign-and-trade options, but I can't see the Warriors intentionally
upsetting Baron for a whole year (by not giving him a new deal) just to
set up a chancy run at Gilbert.

WW.NET: If Monta and Biedrins are still around this season and put up better
numbers than last year-How much would it take to re-sign them?
I'm thinkin Barbosa like money 5/33 for Monta and 5/40-45 for Biedrins, you agree?

Tim: We really don't know what
they could be worth at the end of the year until they get there (though
I think Biedrins will be extended this fall). Who knew Kaman was a $55M
guy until he had that big year two years ago… and then he got the
money and turned right back into a 33-cent guy. It's tough to decipher.

I think you're pretty low on your Biedrins estimate: He's a starting
center, he's still very young, he has won Nelson's confidence… Those
are some chips to play with. I'd say $55M is a starting point for
Biedrins, with the chance to go much higher. But I think Mullin is
determined to extend Biedrins this October–Mullin has a great
relationship with Biedrins' agent, Bill Duffy, and I think they both
have a general idea of the terms.

Ellis will have to play it
out. But he'll be a restricted F/A and we've just seen with Pietrus how
difficult that can be for a player to exert pressure. If Mullin lets it
be known that he'll match any offer Ellis gets… there's no incentive
for teams to offer him much. They'll try to do sign-and-trades, but if
Mullin doesn't like what he hears, no deal.

Barbosa isn't a bad
comparable for Monta. Again, we'll have to see. He could be traded. He
could score 22 a night. He could take a downturn.

WW.NET: Nelson really gonna retire or just using the threat of retirement to get more money out of Cohan?

Tim: It's a staredown: I think
Nelson's retirement threat is serious and I think Cohan's sense that he
doesn't need to break the bank to keep Nellie around also is serious.
And both are probably right. That's why it's up to Mullin to broker
this thing, and it's up to Nellie and Cohan to believe he can do it.
Really, they have to believe he HAS to do it. They've got about three
weeks to put this together, and the nuclear option–No Nellie–would be
crazy on both sides. Do they know that?

WW.NET:Team Poet,Politician, high salaried bench warmer Adonal has 2 years left on his contract, Buy him out or Hold
on to him and use his expiring contract to acquire someone next

Tim: I would've dropped Adonal
using the one-time amnesty provision two years ago–Mullin wouldn' tdo
it because that would've been a huge admission of failure only one year
into Foyle's long-term deal. Under the amnesty, Foyle would've been
paid off (monstrous loss) but he wouldn't count against the salary cap
in all following years, and that's where he's currently killing the

Well, that didn't happen, obviously. And they talked
buy-out last year, but Foyle is no dummy–he wants the money he signed
for, no less, and he has the right to demand that. The likelihood of a
buy-out decreases exponentially each year, and they're all probably
past that point. As you point out, Foyle becomes slightly tradeable by
February and definitely by next off-season, when his contract only has
one more guaranteed year left. The famed expiring contract.

WW.NET: Belinelli and Wright(If he stays) both will have a chance to play,
unrealistic to see Marco start or put up 15ppg? Wright with his
ability to run the floor and score around the basket, does 10 ppg and
6-7 reb. seem reachable?

Tim: First off, a warning: I
have never seen Belinelli play a full game, live or on TV. But
everything I hear, and everything Nellie says, leads me to believe that
Belinelli will, at least, be a major option at the wing and at most
(and maybe most likely) will be the starting shooting guard. He's very
seasoned and does the things Nellie wants his off-guard to do: Shoot in
transition, get loose on screens, compete on defense. Maybe 14 points
per, 38% from three-point, 44% overall, decent overall floor game.
That's more than Nellie was getting out of Richardson, I hate to say.

is a different question, because I just don't think he's physically up
to NBA standards yet and that's a position where you have to be
physically ready. While Belinelli has the perfect Nellie portfolio,
Wright has a much trickier one. Unless you can shoot, Nellie's first
inclination is to sit you for a while. We'll see how he reacts to
Wright and since Wright missed the summer league, it's especially hard
to forecast. I'd guess he's the first big man off the bench for most of
this season, 9 pts, 5 rebs–not good numbers, but he's young. That's
why the Warriors would ideally like to move him in a Garnett package.

WW.NET: Patrick O'Bryant locks himself in the gym all summer, comes to camp in
fantastic shape, runs the floor, grabs rebounds and blocks shots.. Is
that just in my dreams or can Patrick do it? If Not, can I tell
Patrick to start looking for a apartment in Bakersfield?

Tim: O'Bryant is now playing for
a spot on his next team, I really believe. He's not going to play for
Nellie. Even if Nellie isn't the coach any more, the Warriors are going
to play fast–that's a given. And while O'Bryant might struggle in
any NBA situation, his lack of a high-rev motor really means he'll
never have a spot on a speed team.

When Nellie was asked during summer league if O'Bryant could contribute, Nellie responded: "In the D-League? Or the NBA?" Whew.

WW.NET: Pietrus and Barnes both had high expectations this offseason but
nothing has materialized for either, Will either one be a Warrior this
upcoming season?

Tim: I think Pietrus is a
likely short-term re-sign with the Warriors–they played this right.
Pietrus was restricted, the Warriors were happy to talk sign-and-trade,
but they weren't going to get bluffed by Pietrus and his agent. No big
deals emerged and Pietrus is going to have to come back for a one- or
two-year low-salary deal and then test the market again as an
unrestricted F/A.

Barnes I think is a 50/50 deal with James
Posey. If Posey signs with the Warriors, Barnes is out. If Barnes
agrees to a lesser deal than he wanted (I'd say 3 years, $12M), then
Posey's out and Barnes comes back to the Warriors. This is just what
happens when you're a limited wing player with major production in a
Nellie system. You can always get those guys–at least that's the

WW.NET: Do you visit the forum on WarriorsWorld.net
? if so, do you post or just steal our ideas?

Tim: Honestly, I've got to say I haven't gotten into the habit of checking out warriorsworld.com very often. I know the guys at GoldenStateofMind.com, and I think they do a nice job, so I click over there semi-frequently.

Do I steal your stuff? Well, if you want it, you can take credit for my whole Warriors file (please!), which includes:

* Campaigning for the selection of O'Bryant last year.

* Ripping the selection of Richardson, saying it should've been Eddie Griffin.

* At first supporting the hiring of Mike Montgomery–then quickly realizing it was a debacle.

* There's more dumb stuff, I'm sure.

got some better stuff that I've written on the Warriors, too, but the
point is that a lot of the smarter Warriors observers–and I'd
definitely count you and your readers in there– do come up with
similar ideas and conclusions. I'm fine with that. I'm also fine with
people coming to totally opposite ideas and conclusions.

I do a
lot of reporting, which is what makes me very happy to hear opposing
opinions. Just for instance, I've been writing about the Warriors'
pursuit of KG for years–not out of the blue, not from anything off of
a website, but because I talk to Mullin and he has indicated exactly
this for two years. If I get ripped for something with zero reporting
behind it, that's on me. If I get ripped for something I know to be
under discussion by the principals (and believe, Mullin isn't the only
NBA principal I talk to), that's OK. It's part of the deal.

That's what makes the NBA good and covering an interesting NBA team a lively process.

We would like to thank Tim for his time and insight. Leave comments and feedback on the forum. Thanks