It started with whether overpaying Jarrett Jack was an ultimate cost-benefit decision that overrode salary concerns. It ended in a wild chess match that sparked the questions of whether Harrison Barnes would suffer a sophomore slump due to a numbers crunch.
And everything that cascaded in between has led to wild predictions ranging from a Western Conference title to the Warriors struggling in the lower rungs of the division because of injuries—fine, that's not so crazy—and bench losses. That's fine. It's all speculatory, the offseason is, but there hasn't been one like this in a very long time. It's not fair to term different offseasons in overarching arbitrary terms but the NBA, in its current state, have teams that go out and specifically maneuver a certain way.
The Philadelphia 76ers as the Tank Commander of the brigade of teams like the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic; the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans leading the way for the middling teams that appear to have divergent goals in the front office; San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat amongst the elite that sit back and add small pieces that only push the team forward. And finally, the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers make up a small segment of teams that pose as wild cards, budding star teams but able to, on a seeming whim, make a big splash at any moment.
So the offseason started with a bit of a reserving tone as the Warriors seemed about to lose Jack and Carl Landry, and with no real backups, there were real concerns. Even if Brandon Rush was back, he emulated a lot of Barnes' qualities and the void left by Festus Ezeli injury would hurt. The lack of salary cap space helped as much as the Bay Bridge last weekend.
And as quick as the snap of Curry's wrist on a jumper, GM Bob Myers made the gridlock disappear, and out of the ensuing smoke-filled litter rose a couple trade exceptions, ample cap space and one lockdown defensive superstar in Andre Iguodala.
The Warriors aren't used to this. The fans are accustomed to a mundane state of affairs when making the sane choice of acknowledging a Corey Maggette signing can actually help the team. And through Joe Lacob's eternal optimism, I'm not sure he was ready for all of this yet. Not the overwhelming turn of success, that is. One would be remiss to think he won't get his stadium project done. Offseasons tend to start quickly and end mercifully, with everyone waiting on pins and needles for the start of the next season. Unless you're the Los Angeles Lakers, of course. Crazy superteam they're building out there, I must humbly admit.
With Myers and company, they've waited out the market and decided to sneak in at the last possible moment, snatching Jarrett Jack in an under-the-radar trade and Carl Landry on a small deal. Those aren't flashy signings, certainly, but he's done the same this year, with potentially the same level of costs and benefits. Of course, it's an economically cost-effective solution that Jermaine O'Neal, Toney Douglas and Marreese Speights' contracts aren't as valuable as a certain hidden bag laying in the desert of New Mexico. The one flashy signing shouldn't hurt the long-term extension prospects of Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson, either. But of course, as it is in the great era of over-analyzation, Warriors' fans have stayed reserved, exploded with energy at the prospect of certain additions and now fallen back into the quiet abyss that awaits the season. With new things comes new problems, and already, in deeper breakdowns than myself, we've tried to decipher as to how the loss of such a prolific ball-handler, at times, Jack would hinder the team, the lack of frontcourt depth, and the general "luckiness", although I'm not sure anyone can proclaim this team lucky given past adventures, with injuries to its key players, especially Curry, Thompson, Barnes and Lee.
The construction of the team seems fine, in a vacuum. It's the topsy-turvy offseason that's made this Warriors team that much more exciting that the years before. They're going to win their fair share of games. That's good. But it's the way in which the team's been run that is exciting in the eyes of someone that's perpetually fascinated by the inner workings of management; even though NBA access from a couch is as superficial as it gets. Without Lacob's adherence to admit to a small mistake, Myers would not have been able to apparently shop Lee to other teams. Perhaps they went through the same process a year ago, we have no way of knowing, but it's the lock-step that these two have seemingly joined into that makes this team fun to keep track of, even in an offseason when basketballs don't splash into nets.
Though with all said, the transitioning of a team that seemed on the cusp of greater things, albeit with a tight parameter, to one that's apparently moved up a notch while sacrificing some measured future assets made this an offseason that might be regarded, several years down the line, as the start of the Myers era. Sure, identifying Jack and Landry in free agency, drafting Barnes, Draymond Green and Ezeli were great, but to shift pieces, and have the ONIONS! to make all this work, makes this offseason the change we've come to hope for, rather than expect.