“I want to be the best to ever play the game.”
“I always had to work extremely hard to make myself known. For people out there watching...I had to prove myself.”
—Patrick McCaw after filling in for an injured Stephen Curry and tallying 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists during a game in late November of 2017.
As I sift through the preseason NBA news trying to look for excitement as I wait for a 3-peat, I am compelled to wonder about the Patrick McCaw contract standoff that grips the heart of Golden State.
And what a curious tale it is.
In year one, the promising, bright-eyed rookie carved a role as a potential Andre Iguodala protege/possible maybe future Hall-of-Famer on a budding dynasty. As Connor Letorneau reflected in the SF Examiner’s rookie review at the close of that season: “McCaw is in line for an expanded role. The Warriors saw enough from him as a rookie to believe he can be a key rotational player for years.”
In year two, McCaw regressed to the point that he sent himself to the G-League to get his mind right. He returned to the Warriors only to suffer a devastating season ending injury in the vicinity of an awkwardly positioned Vince Carter. Dub Nation rained “thoughts and prayers” on the Splash Grandson etc, and the team kinda yawned into another championship without him.
As year three dawns on us, cautious optimism on his still promising future has dissolved into confusion over his refusal to sign the Warriors contract offer. As a restricted free agent, he can only leave for greener pastures if another team throws him an amount of cash the Dubs are unwilling to match. That doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon.
So, as GSoM has asked several times, what the hell is going on with McCaw?
Our very own Jannelle tackled this subject for GSoM recently and she raised an interesting point about who is managing his interests.
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.
Is this what’s going on? Is McCaw’s pappy convincing him to hold out against the dynasty that generously birthed his professional basketball career? As Jannelle mentioned, rumors of Kawhi Leonard’s Uncle “Dennis” breaking up his relationship with San Antonio ran rampant over the summer. Maybe this is some paternal meddling going on?
Just for kicks, my mind continues to wander down this rabbit hole of curiosity about McCaw. I mean, the Warriors don’t really neeeed him. Hell, the Splash Bros have won two titles without him.
Stay with me now...
I suppose I’m just more bemused and unnerved by the temerity... the audacity...the unmitigated gall of what I can only describe as his treasonous rebellion against the Golden Empire.
Okay maybe that’s a bit much. But now ya got me thinkin’...what if there’s something else?
It’s clear that we gotta dig beneath the surface to figure this one out, DubNation...
What if this is more similar to another small forward in the West whose absence is gumming up his team’s morale? Jimmy Butler reportedly wants out of Minnesota because of a rift between himself and his star teammates Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Apparently, Butler believes the two stars have poor work ethic (a criticism he once gave to Derrick Rose).
What if McCaw thinks his teammates are lazy underperformers?!?!?
Think about it: McCaw’s first year in the NBA came as a contributing member of a 67-win, #1 seeded, best record in the NBA havin’, basketball death squad. McCaw was there playing for a team that lost only ONE GAME in the ENTIRE PLAYOFFS. That team was on an ordained mission from the heavens to purge the Earth from trash basketball and rebuild the NBA into a golden new order.
At the time, McCaw was overwhelmed with appreciation for the sheer domination. As he told The Undefeated in a piece entitled, “Winning is all Patrick McCaw and Damian Jones have known in the playoffs”: “I never dreamed of being in this position on such a great team and playing, doing the things I’m doing and contributing in any way I can. Just being a part of this organization is just unreal.”
Last season? Not so much. Steve Nash recently shared on Bill Simmons’ Ringers podcast that the Dubs didn’t play up to his expectations until the Finals since they were demotivated and wearied from several consecutive deep playoff runs. Nash, a Warriors’ player development consultant, even opined that their personalities appeared a little susceptible to taking their foot off the gas.
What if McCaw, a proud man who stated his desire to be the greatest player in basketball history, is just intolerant of those shenanigans? You saw the quote; he’s always had to work extremely hard.
How hard did the Warriors really work last season? I mean, a Warriors beat reporter literally called their play “lazy”. Is it possible that the youngster grew horrified with his veteran teammates casually shrugging their way into 58 wins and the #2 seed in the West behind the rival Houston Rockets??
- McCaw observed as head coach Steve Kerr let the players coach themselves for a game against Phoenix, not because of painful complications from back surgery, but because he got passive-aggressively bored from failing to get their attention. (Sure, it didn’t matter at all when the Warriors hoisted up the title in Cleveland to end the season, but it still happened!)
- McCaw watched as his mentor Iguodala aggressively underwhelmed shooting the ball through the fall and winter months on the schedule. Iguodala even joked that if the team were losing more, he’d be traded for his languid offense. (Of course, Iguodala balled out in the playoffs, but we’re talking about the full season here, people!)
- Remember David West and Shaun Livingston’s cryptic comments after the Finals last year about behind the scenes turmoil? Is the secret that an exasperated McCaw saw his teammates lazing their way to a shameful 58 wins and grew despondent?
- Did McCaw send himself to the G-League not because of his diminishing play, but rather because he wanted to quarantine himself from his teammates’ indifference rubbing off on him???
Don’t act like you thought the Warriors were trying hard and meeting expectations throughout the last season! I remember full well several of you furiously jumped into the comments sections of my “No #1 seed? No Problem!” articles to tell me to stop being so cocky about our title chances because of a “meh” regular season. Maybe McCaw felt the same way, and in Jimmy Butler fashion, has had it up to HERE with all the nonchalance.
Uh oh, I’m five beers into this conspiracy theory now: I don’t know what to think anymore.
I’ll turn this over to you psychics and fortune tellers to figure it out as I crank up some Call of Duty.