With the 2013 NBA Finals concluded, the whole league has now entered the offseason. The Golden State Warriors must decide where they stand with Jarrett Jack if they wish to capitalize on the success of the 2012-13 campaign.
The Pacific division is in somewhat of a state of flux given the uncertainty with the Los Angeles Lakers. In the event Dwight Howard bolts in free agency, the Purple and Gold must come up with a contingency plan.
The Sacramento Kings are not going anywhere in terms of geographic location, but their place at the bottom of the standings almost seems like a formality. The Phoenix Suns could make a few changes in the 2013 offseason but it’s doubtful their deals will turn them into a divisional contender.
The Los Angeles Clippers have made two big transactions heading into 2013-14 by jettisoning Vinny Del Negro and bringing in Doc Rivers. Rivers has demonstrated that he can coach talent and take it deep into the postseason.
In addition, there is a slight chance Kevin Garnett might join Rivers with Lob City. Trading for the services of the Big Ticket probably secures Chris Paul’s signature as a free agent given the core of the team.
All of this begs one simple question: where does this leave the Warriors?
As Zach Lowe pointed out over at Grantland, the Dubs will be hard pressed to reproduce the success they enjoyed in 2012-13. Although Brandon Rush essentially missed the season and Andrew Bogut was in and out of the lineup, Golden State had an optimal season in terms of health.
Stephen Curry suited up in 78 games and Mark Jackson maximized his talent. The ensuing season could potentially become a letdown unless the Warriors make a few moves.
Quickly glance at Hoopsworld’s breakdown of the Warriors’ salary situation for the next few seasons. Unless Golden State’s front office has extremely compromising photos of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins, they will both play out the final seasons of their contracts.
Jefferson will earn a little over $11 million while Biedrins will make $9 million. Those deals alone put the Dubs over the luxury tax threshold. Thus, it makes it a little difficult for Golden State to re-sign its own free agents.
Keep in mind, Carl Landry has a $4 million player option for 2013-14, but the word around the league is that he plans to opt out and become a free agent. Should he leave, there is a good possibility management will figure out a way to replace him his production.
Jarrett Jack is also a free agent in the 2013 offseason.
In other words, there is a possibility the Warriors will lose their top two bench guys. Both were instrumental in dispatching the Denver Nuggets in the 2013 playoffs and taking the San Antonio Spurs to six games in the Western Conference semifinals.
Landry bullied the Nuggets’ interior frontline on the block while Jack was occasionally an exceptional playmaker and shot maker.
More importantly, Jack was a pivotal figure down the stretch of games where his confidence rarely wavered. Curry loved to go for the jugular and launch from 3-point range off the dribble.
Jack on the other hand played off Curry and the attention defenses gave him. Jack regularly dribbled into mid-range territory for his money jump shot.
This explains why he was second in clutch scoring (clutch is defined as the last five minutes of the game with the scoring margin within five points) on the Warriors per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.
Also, Jack led the team in assists in such situations this season. If we look at his postseason numbers, he actually improved. He scored 20 points in this scenario in the 2013 playoffs, good for seventh best in the NBA. Yes, the whole frikkin league.
Curry’s health and brilliant play in 2012-13 were instrumental to Golden State’s success, but so was Jack’s productivity. And that’s where the Dubs have decisions to make in the offseason.
ESPN.com compiled a list of players that become free agents July 1st, 2013. Because Curry is the Warriors’ starting point guard, if Jack were to depart, Golden State would be in the market for a backup floor general.
After glossing at the names of the 2013 unrestricted free agents, here are the guys that could potentially spell Curry and play alongside him in the backcourt for a few minutes per game:
- Devin Harris
- C.J. Watson
- Nate Robinson
- Shaun Livingston
- Mike James
- Jose Calderon
- Chauncey Billups
- Jamaal Tinsley
Keep in mind, Billups is included in the group, but it’s quite possible he still believes he’s a starter, which takes him out of the picture for Golden State. That leads us to this larger point: With the exception of perhaps Calderon and Robinson, Jack outplayed all of them in 2012-13.
Essentially that puts him in the top tier of backup point guards in 2013, which means there should be a substantial market for him. In other words, Jack is going to get paid regardless where he ends up.
The Denver Nuggets’ Andre Miller might be the reference point for backup point guards and he is averaging $5 million per season right now.
It stands to reason the market value for Jack will be somewhere around that figure, perhaps in the $6 or $7 million range per season for three or four years.
If the Warriors are comfortable with paying that amount for a backup and taking on the luxury tax bill that comes along with it, expect them to re-sign Jack. However, it’s quite possible the Dubs have their eyes on the future.
Armed with cap room in the 2014 summer, Golden State might just make a huge splash in free agency. Before that conversation can happen though, they must decide whether or not they hold onto Jack.
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