No one likes to see a fan favorite go — Jason Richardson, Baron Davis, Monta Ellis – all recent examples of loved Warriors who have since been traded or let go.
Add Dorell Wright to that list.
The cliché’s “class act” and “true professional” are thrown around all too often in sports, usually pertaining to an athlete that exhibits just a hint of what those expressions actually mean. But, that doesn’t mean that all players with these titles aren’t deserving of such praise.
Dorell Wright, through his local community work, the D Wright Way Foundation, media availability and welcoming vibe all contributed to him being a true “class act” and “professional.” In a business filled with the adverse, a player so willing to do such acts without undue influence is rare.
But, as previously stated, it’s a business. And this week Dorell Wright was traded for what was eventually turned into PG Jarrett Jack, formerly of the New Orleans Hornets.
While only sporting a Warriors uniform for two seasons, Dorell quickly became a fan favorite as a result of his breakout first year with the team. Dorell led the NBA in three pointers made (ahead of former Warrior Jason Richardson), which earned him a spot in the Three-Point Competition during All-Star Weekend.
While rather unknown to Warriors fans after his initial signing, Dorell was a great example of how a “low risk, high reward” signing can in fact be the latter. Signing at a reasonable number, Dorell earned all if not more of his 3.5 million his first year.
If Dorell played this past season like his first, would he still be a Warrior? This is an interesting question, especially considering the cap number that would still be hitting the Warriors if he stayed on the roster. While not huge by any means, Dorell’s contract still would have limited an already tight Warriors budget. It’s also safe to assume that Joe Lacob – until proven otherwise – isn’t willing to go into the luxury tax if need be. He definitely talks the talk, but he’s yet to walk the walk.
As we all know, “Warriors” and “playoffs” go together like reality starlets and unknown power forwards (Hint: they don’t). The swan song that Warriors fans have known for years…and years…and years is still the same: hope, if healthy, potential, optimism are all words associated with this franchise year in and year out. While the song is indeed the same, the artist is different.
New GM Bob Myers actually looks like a GM and acts as if the job is his. Whereas Larry Riley always seemed to live and do his job in the shadow of Joe Lacob, Myers seems more in control, more suited for the position and better equipped to run a successful NBA franchise. While Myers is still very much in the shadow of his owner, his previous experience as an agent should be a prove to be a vital tool in regards to negotiating contracts, feeling out players wants/needs and ultimately finding out what it will take for talent to come to Golden State.
Myers’ skills as a strong talent evaluator and negotiator helped bring about the addition of Jarrett Jack, a combo guard that is solid on the defensive end and is exactly the player the Warriors need. As Curry continues to struggle with injuries (to say the least) and Charles Jenkins not yet ready for the primary backup role, Jack fills the void of a proven veteran presence in an otherwise inexperienced backcourt.
Jarrett Jack isn’t Steve Nash, Jason Kidd or even (gulp) Jeremy Lin, but he doesn’t have to be. With only one year left on his deal, the addition of Jack is worth the risk (and the salary) where other free agent guards would have demanded more years and more dollars. If he does well, the Warriors have his bird rights next offseason with the opportunity to keep him. If Jack fades, the Warriors will bid him adieu.
Do the Warriors have one more move in them? Reports have the team linked to PF Carl Landry, a bruiser on the defensive end, but little offensive game to speak of. It’s clear the Warriors are now in the market for a big man, preferably a power forward. Landry fits the bill, but with Brandon Rush still unsigned it will be interesting to see how the dominoes fall.
The team got off to a nice start with the acquisition of Jack, and while a favorite was shipped off, the team is better because of it. Can Myers fill the power forward void? Will Brandon Rush be back? Is Mark Jackson’s camera roll safe? All are important questions in an otherwise quiet off-season for the Warriors. The foundation for a competitive team is building, but building to what is a better question.