OAKLAND CA - JANUARY 12: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers is fouled by Andris Biedrins #15 of the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 12 2011 in Oakland California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Golden State Warriors could edge themselves into play for major free agents like Tyson Chandler and Nene. To get one, Andris Biedrins might be on the way out.
The Golden State Warriors improved greatly in 2010-11 under Keith Smart. But great improvement wasn't quite great enough, as the Warriors replaced Smart with Mark Jackson, who will attempt to teach of commandments of putting one's hand up on defense. In the front office, Larry Riley maintained his role as general manager, while agent Bob Myers joined the ranks and legend Jerry West stepped in as an adviser. The Warriors' executive ranks are now nearly as crowded as their backcourt!
Here's a look at the Warriors' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.
The Warriors were comfortably under the luxury tax line through Chris Cohan's ownership of the team, and the Joe Lacob-led group edged Golden State just under the line a year ago with a big move for David Lee and the addition of Dorell Wright in free agency.
Heading into free agency, the Warriors have a cap figure of $ 49 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million. Without using amnesty, Golden State will be looking at mid-rung players to fill in blanks. But there are indications that the Warriors are thinking much, much bigger.
The Warriors' free agents are:
Golden State is expected to hang on to Williams, assuming he doesn't get some crazy offer somewhere else. (In a radio interview with KNBR 650 AM last week, Mark Jackson spoke as if he was sure Williams would be back.) Thornton and Radmanovic won't be missed; both could be working on minimum contracts next season, though some team could take a small flyer on either. Acie Law is expected to compete with Jeremy Lin for an opening day roster spot and minutes behind Stephen Curry.
The Warriors have been linked to Tyson Chandler (who visited the Bay Area early this week) and Nene, which makes a lot of sense when you look at Golden State's frontcourt. Lee was a disappointment in his first season in Oakland after struggling with an elbow infection early in the season, but Andris Biedrins has been a bigger disappointment for far longer. If the Warriors need to use amnesty to free up money for Chandler, Nene or any other big man, Biedrins would seem to be the right bet.
Beyond that, look for the Warriors to watch Monta Ellis light up the trade rumor mill as he always does. As has been the case for about three years, Memphis will be mentioned frequently.
For more on the Warriors, visit SB Nation's Golden State of Mind.