Extension in the Works for Andris Biedrins?

After playing hardball with Head Coach Don Nelson, Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Sarunas Jasikevicius , and to some extent Monta Ellis this past summer, the Warriors oddly look like they're on the verge of giving young big man Andris Biedrins a big money deal [SFGate]:

The last center standing from a year ago is now the only Warrior with a chance to cash in big this season. Golden State has until Oct. 31 to sign Biedrins to a contract extension or let him become a restricted free agent next summer.

Both Warriors vice president Chris Mullin and Bill Duffy, Biedrins' agent, anticipate talks to pick up as preseason moves along, and although neither is publicly offering any numbers, all signs point toward a deal getting done.

It's a real head scratcher why after a change for more fiscal responsibility the Warriors are reportedly about to open up their pocket books for a promising young big man who has some obvious flaws in his game that he'll most likely never overcome. When was the last time you saw a raw young big man develop a jump shot, a low or high post game, morph into a great passer who you can run your offense through, or a phenomenal shot blocker and rugged defender pretty much out of nowhere? I can think of only one legit player in Jermaine O'Neal, but he's an exception to the rule, not the norm.

capt.f00ae339d43e43989c1cbc978f6f4658.warriors_basketball_media_day_cabm111.jpg
Let's wait and see if Andris' photography and hoops skills mature before giving him a big payday.
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

More thoughts about the possibly looming contract extension for the young big man after the jump...

Remember, Biedrins is usually is the 5th option on the floor anytime he out there. He can pretty much just catch and dunk. If he gets fouled going up for a shot and gets sent to the free throw line, well make sure the kids are at home and aren't watching. Creating offense for himself and others just isn't his cup of tea right now and probably will never be. No one's going to confuse him for Vlade Divac out there with respect to passing. If there's no BD-level passer on the squad, it's remains an open question how many buckets Biedrins would be able to score nightly.

Defensively Biedrins has become a good help defender and a solid force on the glass against most teams. However throw him against a frontline with some bulk and he struggles mightily. With his slender frame (admittedly, he'll fill out with age though) it's just asking and expecting too much of him to battle against the Carlos Boozers', Amare Stoudemire's, and Tim Duncan's of the league. Plus that Greg Oden fellow is someone to worry about for the next decade plus in the West.

Don't get me wrong Biedrins had a fantastic season last year (his 2k6-2k7 GSoM Report Card is on the way), but remember the Warriors went on that crazy late season run with him on the bench and the smallest starting unit in the land with Baron, Monta, JRich, Jax, and Al with Barnes as the 6th man. He arguably wasn't as integral to last season's success as you'd think.

If there's one thing this league has shown it's that young big men with that p-word potential don't come cheap. Take a look at some of these recent highly questionable big money deals for the 6'9 and over crowd:

  • Tyson Chandler: - $63 million over 6 years- I'd say he's the most similar player to Biedrins in the NBA and I don't think anyone would argue he's a superstar in the making.
  • Samuel Dalembert: $62 million over 6 years- Huh?
  • Zach Randolph: $84 million over 6 years- Shouldn't someone be able to pass the ball and play defense if you're going to give them sort of payday?
  • Nene: $60 million over 6 years- At least his name is cool.
  • Chris Kaman: $50 million over 5 years- Chillin' with The Flinstones is rewarding.
  • Rashard Lewis: $110 million over 6 years- Not that his game is anything like Biedrins' but I just had to sneak this in... Orlando Tragic!

Think any of those teams would like a playground "do-over"?

If the Warriors give Biedrins a lucrative extension right now, they're simply repeating the same mistake they made with those laughable contract extensions for Adonal Foyle, Troy Murphy, and Mike Dunleavy from not too long ago. They're paying a player for what they think he might do or become, not what he can presently do or has proven he can do. Remember after this season he'll be a restricted free agent. Given the recent history of restricted free agents, it's very unlikely that some other team is going to pry him away next summer. The Warriors hold the cards here, not Biedrins and his agent.

Just like the Warriors did with Boom Dizzle, Mohawk Barnes, MP2, and Monta here's hoping they play those cards right and are patient. But don't get me wrong, I'm all for the good man to get paid some of Cohan's green. If the Warriors ink Biedrins to a big money deal good for him, but it's probably not good for the Warriors' cap in the long run. I wouldn't bet on him getting that much better than he already is, but what do I know? Just 2 years back I thought he wouldn't be in the league past his initial rookie deal because of what appeared to be a player with terribly low hoops IQ and very little body control. (Yes, he had that bad of a sophomore campaign.) The Dubs should just make sure that last year wasn't a fluke for Biedrins and that he's on the pace for stardom before they make a common mistake in the NBA. What's the rush?

And let's not forget the effects within the locker room a Biedrins extension might have. What kind of message does it send to the others who were hardballed this past offseason with their contract negotiations? If Biedrins gets a contract extension, why doesn't Monta and so on? It might appear like the Warriors are playing favorites and that might wreck an already fun and tightly knit locker room atmostphere. Why mess with a good thing?

Should the Warriors ink Andris Biedrins to an extension before October 31st? If so, what kind of deal do you think is reasonable for both sides?


Also check out ffgolden's diary Biedrins: To extend, or not to extend? for more discussion

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