As the shortened training camp and free agency period races on, two great debates have emerged from within our Warriors sphere of news and reverberating out into the national landscape. Many issues come to the fore through these two debates, from the question of competitive balance between the small and big markets to the strategy of a franchise with its sites set on climbing the ladder of the NBA hierarchy. What is up with David Stern vetoing a seemingly fair if not favorable trade for the league's Hornets? Did Stern overstep his bounds and set a perilous path for a franchise on the verge of life-support status? What is also up with the Warriors striking out on every attempt to land a top-flight free agent? Might the Warriors have overshot this free-agency period, been about a year or two ahead in going for headline-grabbing names, and missed out on adding solid pieces in process? Or maybe you like the aggressive "fake-it-till-you-make-it" confidence. We will debate these questions and more after the jump.
There are really two issues at play in this debate. First there's the on the court assessment of the deal. The Hornets would add Kevin Martin, one of the best pure scorers in the league when healthy, Luis Scola, an efficient scoring big, Lamar Odom, a Sixth Man of the Year, and Goran Dragic, a very good back-up PG but probably not a starter on a top tier team. That's quite a haul for one player. While non of those players are young, they aren't old either. The price for remaining competitive for the Hornets would be bringing on quite a large chunk of long term contracts. They would need to like the players they're getting cause they're going to be stuck with them for a while. They're already stuck with Okafor's unmovable 10+ million contract, so it would be Martin/Odom/Scola/Okafor for the foreseeable future.
This brings us to the long-term financial side of the deal. Most importantly in this end of the debate is the question of what is going to happen to the New Orleans NBA market for the next 2-3 years with the departure of Chris Paul? I'd say the best early guess is that New Orleans fans will be devastated if CP3 leaves, and they won't be coming out to support the team for a while. It could be argued that fielding a competitive team in the present will at least keep a pulse going in NOLA, but others will argue that it's a lost cause, breaking the whole thing down and building is the shrewdest course of action. After all, with a new owner on the horizon, the team could be in the process of changing cities, a far more tenable process with a young core and the ability to at least dream big in with unknown commodities. The current Clippers proposal seems more in line with this kind of strategy. Bledsoe and Aminu are talented but need the development that comes with playing time and Chris Kaman is a former All-Star with an expiring contract. Minnesota's 1st might be a lottery pick again.
The more philosophical question of the commissioner's ability to veto trades is the other import side of this debate. From a PR standpoint it's clearly bad timing for the league coming off a lock-out. The situation also isn't ideal because the league should simply not own a team. And if it does, that shouldn't give the owners the ability to collectively govern that franchise's activities. It almost seems like the equivalent of the NCAA football coaches poll where coaches can affect the destiny of competing programs with their vote. That's a ridiculous situation and David Stern should've never let it happen if Gilbert's letter was indeed the reason he eventually vetoed the trade. Regardless of where one falls on the question of the flow of talent to the bigger markets, owners should not be able to weigh in on the Hornets affairs. My best bet, however, is that Stern vetoed the trade based on the long-term financial implications previously discussed. He didn't need Gilbert to tell him that there might be better "big-picture" offers out there for the Hornets.
There are many reasons to fall on either side of this debate. Let your thoughts be known below.
Debate #2: Did the Warriors overshoot in the free-agency period?
As it stands right now, the Warriors have struck out in free agency. While it's exciting to see the Warriors in the headlines trying to make moves, it's frustrating to be constantly reminded that GS is not a desired destination for the big names in the NBA. The Warriors are still less than two years removed from the reign of Cohan when the team was a laughing-stock in the league. While names like Mark Jackson, Jerry West and Stephen Curry have raised the team's profile, they still need to prove it on the court. While they dream of new arena on the water in San Francisco, they still play at Oracle. Lacob and Guber have big dreams but the best times are clearly still ahead.
There seems to be two areas of this debate as well. The first is money spent vs. on-court-return. Would netting a 10+ million per year big produce much more on the court than a resurgent Biedrins and more depth? Either side of the question is a gamble. By inking DeAndre Jordan to a $43 million deal, the Warriors have shown their more willing to bet on an unproven FA than Biedrins. I tend to think that Biedrins will play better with a fresh start and new coaching staff. Others think Biedrins is done. Where you fall on this question will likely dictate your inclinations in free agency.
The second area of the debate is whether the Warriors strategy is ahead of schedule for a franchise wanting to build a contender. Did shooting for big names prevent the Warriors from adding more realistic and productive pieces as in the case of Chuck Hayes? Could 8 million of the DeAndre money been better thrown at a player like Arron Afflalo? There's a lot here to discuss here, so I'll leave most of it to the poll and comments below. But the Warriors are trying to act like the big boys even before they become big boys. While I like the idea of embodying what you want to be, missing out on top free agents has damaging implications in a shortened free agency period. As a result of getting in and fighting with the big boys for talent, the Warriors may be left to clean up the garbage left in the wake of some solid signings by presumably lower tier teams. Ouch.
Your thoughts on either of these Great Debates?