Changed the format a lil’ – it makes more sense to talk about the rosters that have gotten worse today, and talk about the moves towards clearing space for Free Agency in 2010 tomorrow. So… switched ’em. Today: 2 teams that find themselves worse off.
Big time free agency always has the crowd’s attention. But rarely do we look in depth at the teams those free agents depart, and what’s the effect of their departure. Today, we will.
The Golden State Warriors hurt in many different ways with the departure of Baron Davis for the Clippers.
On the court, Davis was the team leader, and of recent times the best performed of the Dubs players. Davis was the guy that on any given night could be the man. The guy the opposition couldn’t touch.
Off the court, “The Beard” was the face of the franchise. Without a doubt the guy that you saw in your mind’s eye when someone said “Golden State Warriors”.
The crowd favourite.
Post the June 30th opt out from Davis, the Warriors chased their tails, offering a big contract to Arenas, amongst others. Thankfully for Golden State, Arenas chose to stay with Washington (more on that later).
And then Matt Barnes.
Whilst not one of the key players on the GSW’s roster, Barnes had a certain rapport that he’d built up with the fans at the Oracle Arena. Definitely that guy that the crowd love, the guy who’s most likely to do something to win the heart & soul of the fans at the game. Headed to division rivals Phoenix? There’s probably only one destination that could hurt more (nod to LA at this point).
Signing Ronny Turiaf from the Lakers will help a lil’ – but no where near enough to damn the torrent of talent heading out of Oakland.
It’s still hard to believe that the Warriors would be without The Beard, but move on – sign Corey Maggette, work the youth, and the opportunity for Monta Ellis to make an impact.
Ellis is one of most dynamic young players in the NBA would finally get a chance to be the centerpiece. Ellis could lead this … ouch.
Can’t a franchise get a break? Monta Ellis tears the deltoid ligament in his left ankle, and post surgery will be out 3 months. The injury occurred during a pick-up game.
Decent talent, and might fit in with the Golden State mindset… but Maggette’s always been a ‘me-first’ kinda guy. We’re yet to see how he’ll fit in with “someone else’s team”. And this team belongs to Ellis.
At least… it will when he gets back.
Cleveland faithful have been waiting.
Waiting for a long time.
Waiting for a team that could compete… then came LeBron.
Then more waiting.
Initially, it was just waiting for the pieces to be put in place around Air Apparent LeBron James that would bring them home an NBA title.
Now, they’re waiting for Danny Ferry to put the pieces around LeBron James that might just persuade him to stay in town in 2010.
For LeBron forms the centerpiece of free agents who become available in 2010. And whilst every Cleveland Blog/fan I know swears differently, every single last one of them is scared of what might happen, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. There are signs there, it’s just if you choose to read them as signs, or coincidence.
So who do the Cavs sign? Mo Williams. Now, Williams is a pretty good point guard. One of the better 2nd/3rd tier guys out there. But it’s not as if signing him puts them over the hump. Yes, some will point to the fact that Cleveland came a lot closer to beating Boston than the LA Lakers did. And this is true. But that had more to do with the way that Boston was playing than anything else.
In the East, Cleveland finished last season with 45 wins. That wouldn’t have even got them into the playoffs in a stronger Western conference.
The Cavaliers’ roster is rife with ‘just misses’ and ‘not quites’. Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden. All good players in their own right, but none coming close to being the 2nd guy that LeBron needs/desires.
One thing’s for sure tho’, 2010 gets closer every day.