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Rumor: Sarunas Jasikevicius to Opt Out and Return to Europe

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It's always tough to gauge the validity of non-Bay Area reports and rumors on the Warriors, but according to this piece in The Boston Globe by Peter May, Sarunas Jasikevicius could be opting out of the remaining 4 million dollars on his contract with the Dubs and returning to Europe:

According to those ever-reliable reports from across the pond, at least three European teams have expressed an interest in signing Sarunas Jasikevicius. The Golden State guard, who played only six minutes in the postseason, can opt out of his contract, which calls for a $4 million payday in 2007-08. He might get that (the equivalent, after taxes, is around 1.9 million Euros) in Europe. Jasikevicius simply has not enjoyed the spectacular success he had in Israel, where he was treated like a rock star, married a former Miss Israel, and won a couple of Euroleague titles for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Prior to that, he was a star in Spain. A Spanish news outlet had Real Madrid trying to lure both Jasikevicius and Fabrico Oberto from the NBA, perhaps in anticipation of hosting next year's European Final Four. Hey, it worked this year for Panathinaikos, which loaded up for the Final Four in Athens and won the whole shebang.

Sarunas hasn't played all that well during his stay with the Warriors aside from that February 7th loss to the Timberwolves where he dropped 20 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and collected a block and a steal. It should be noted however that Nellie has had a very, very short leash with him from day one. If Nellie had the same impatience with Monta Ellis, the MIP would've been benched early in the season for those careless turnovers and never returned. This past season and playoffs the Warriors desperately needed another backup point guard in the rotation to ease up Baron Davis' minutes (fatigue was a big obstacle in the Utah series down the stretch), so it really would've been nice to see Sarunas pan out for the Dubs.

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Sarunas is a valuable commodity not off the bench, but on the bench!

But let's say Sarunas does opt out of the remaining one year and 4 million on his current deal. There's a few ways to look at it:

  • Cap Savings: One of the reasons the Warriors and Pacers were able to make the numbers match up in the 4 player blockbuster deal was because of Sarunas Jasikevicius' contract. If Sarunas opts out, the Warriors just worked the Pacers that much more in that trade because of the 4 million in cap savings.

  • Trade Impact: Sarunas was probably going to be traded this offseason. A few months back he admitted he expected to be moved, citing his contract is just excessive for a player who doesn't play at all for a team (ahem, Adonal Foyle). Also, Jasikevicius' expiring 4 million would've been useful for making the numbers work if the Warriors were to make a play for a big name, big money player such as Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, or even Ron Artest, so this could be seen as a drawback.

Regardless of how this situation plays out, Sarunas Jasikevicius should be commended for his excellent attitude this past season as a Warrior despite seeing next to no playing time. His energy and cheerleading on the bench during the final run to the playoffs and the shocking 1st round upset of the 67 win Dallas Mavericks rivaled the great Calbert Cheaney! It was nice to see every Warrior having fun out there towards the end of this past season even if they were in Nellie's doghouse. Major props to Sarunas.

Will Sarunas Jasikevicius be on the Warriors next season? If he picks up his player option for next season, how useful do you think his expiring $4 million dollar contract will be for summer trades?


99% of rumors never happen, but 99% of them are fun to talk about!