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How McCaw’s contract dispute is reminiscent of Leonard’s Spurs exodus

Uncle Dennis vibes, anyone?

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, father doesn’t know best.

All he knows is that he loves his child and will do whatever’s necessary to make sure he or she is secure. He also knows that he will never stop leading and guiding his child no matter how old he or she is.

No matter if said child is a third year swingman and a two time NBA Champ with the Golden State Warriors. Even if his faith in his child ends up costing his child millions and a roster spot.

In the ongoing stalemate between the Warriors and Patrick McCaw, sources indicated that the third year guard not only let the $1.7 million qualifying offer expire and refused to sign a generous two year $4 million offer against his representatives’ wishes, but he’s also froze them out and is listening to his family, namely his father, who has been according to The Athletic, more of a vocal presence in this process.

McCaw and his father, Jeff, believe an expansive role is the best thing for his development as a player and his earning potential. Their stance would have been sensible if McCaw’s performance reflected the demand and the need for this stunt. The problem is that it didn’t.

Injuries aside, McCaw’s second season with the Warriors included a massive shooting slump that prompted a self-exile to Santa Cruz, defensive struggles in the conference finals, and sub par shooting in the NBA Finals.

Neither McCaw’s body of work nor his rank as a fringe rotation player on the team warrants this power play. Granted the only shred of perceived “leverage” that McCaw had was the fact that the team still wanted to sign him, but even that notion seems to be fleeting.

“I’m not going to answer this everyday,” Steve Kerr answered tersely earlier this week in that article by The Athletic. “He’s not here. You can ask Bob (Myers). Bob will give you something. We’re not going to have this give and take everyday because I honestly have no idea what’s happening.”

At this point, the Warriors have gone from hoping that McCaw would sign and report to training camp to indifference.

Yet, the McCaws continue to play hardball.

Family involvement in negotiations is nothing new. We’ve seen it in the offseason with Kawhi Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Robertson. While Robertson's documented stunts fostered his all-star nephew’s exit from San Antonio, it wasn’t without a steep price. With the Spurs, Leonard could have signed a five year, $221.3 million max. As a Raptor, Leonard’s max is five years for $189.7. That’s $31.6 million wasted. If Leonard wants to leave Toronto after the season, his max with any other team is $140.6 million over four years. Uncle Dennis’ council cost his nephew $80 million dollars not to mention his endorsement deal with Jordan.

McCaw’s situation has shades of Leonard’s as it pertains to interloping, but the consequences are much more dire for the third year guard versus an all star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Finals MVP, and a All NBA first team member. If the McCaws fail to get a guaranteed contract with the Warriors or an extensive role on another team after their stance, it is possible that teams may shy away from the swingman in the long run.

The elder McCaw means well (as did Robertson), just like any other relative of an athlete means well. However, they are looking at situations not through the eyes and perspective of the loved one who happens to be a professional athlete, but through their own. The perspectives of loved ones during negotiations are at best reasonable and well meaning, and selfish and nefarious at the worst.

For the McCaws, the reasonable (and best) move to make is a move that they have no choice but to make: re-negoatiate with the team, sign the contract and put in the work that warrants what they’re asking for.

Otherwise, being “Papa Jeffed” would supplant being “Uncle Dennised” as the latest cautionary tale about how a family’s well-meaning intentions can screw up the money.

Papa Jeff might have brought Patrick McCaw into the league, but he’s on the verge of taking him out of it.

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