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McCaw’s contract has Warriors waiting in the “wings”

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The team could turn to Lee or other training camp invites.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick McCaw is playing a dangerous game with the Golden State Warriors’ front office.

And for now, he seems to be winning.

Not in the sense that the Warriors are caving into his requests. He’s “winning” because the team still wants him in spite of his circumstances and this move.

“We want him here on the team. We know he can help us win,” Stephen Curry said in a post practice scrum, “ Hopefully, he does whats best for him first and foremost, and I hope he’s back with us sooner than later.”

McCaw knows that he is fresh off of a season where he struggled and regressed to the point where he was battling Nick Young for minutes, continued to struggle after a self imposed exile to G-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors, and overcame a career threatening injury.

He also knows that the Warriors lack wing depth beyond Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala. So, McCaw and his camp are using the lack of wings as an ounce of leverage in hopes of getting more than the guaranteed $1.7 million qualifying deal the team offered in June. What’s working in his favor is the fact that the lines of communication are open between the front office and his agent, Billy Duffy.

“We’re continuing to talk to his representatives,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said, “Conversations have been cordial. We’ve been talking most of the summer. We’re going to keep talking. Hopefully, we reach a resolution that works for him and us.”

While the Warriors want McCaw back, it still doesn’t negate the fact that he’s expendable. The qualifying offer will expire on Oct. 1. If McCaw doesn’t accept the offer, he would remain a restricted free agent but without the deal to fall back on and would run the risk of the Dubs letting him walk.

Hypothetically, if McCaw isn’t available, the Warriors have rookie Jacob Evans III, Damion Lee (on a two way contract), Danuel House, Jr, Alfonzo McKinnie, and Marcus Derrickson in camp. Evans is on a guaranteed deal.

The Warriors would prefer to take their time to develop Evans, so him as an option wouldn’t be ideal. A scenario that may make sense is converting Lee’s two way into a guaranteed deal ala Quinn Cook, leaving 2 two way spots instead of just one for invitees to compete for.

The 6-foot-6 Lee is a solid option for back up. He’s familiar with the system since he spent most of last season with Santa Cruz where he averaged 15.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, which was enough to earn consecutive 10-day contracts with the Atlanta Hawks late in the season. Lee averaged 10.7 points in 26 minutes of action for Atlanta, and he has the length and wingspan that the Warriors like on defense.

Plus, he can create his own shot and be a secondary playmaker out there and has the ability to exploit ISO match ups against smaller guards.

If the Warriors end up adding Lee as the 14th man, House would be a huge favorite to nab one of the two way deals. In two games against the Warriors, House scored 22 and 16 points respectively. One of his highlights included this spectacular slam.

House relying on his athleticism to get a spot would be nothing news. For the meantime, he and Jordan Bell would be fun to watch during the preseason.

For McCaw, signing the offer and returning to the team is his best case scenario. The possibility of another team with an open roster spot in the aftermath of the Jimmy Butler trade saga is there. However, it isn’t likely that a team would take a chance.