COMMENTARY | Over the extended July 4th holiday weekend, the Golden State Warriors made several big moves that drastically altered the look of the team. Falling out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, the Warriors overhauled their bench by sending Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, and a handful of draft picks to the Utah Jazz in order to make room for free agent forward Andre Iguodala's big four-year, $48 million contract.
Now the Warriors are engaged in another discussion with the Jazz, along with the Denver Nuggets, for a three-way, sign-and-trade deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. If this deal were to go through, the Warriors would instead acquire Iguodala through a sign-and-trade deal with the Nuggets. As the third team in this trade, Utah would sign-and-trade free agent guard Randy Foye to Denver on a three-year, $9 million deal.
While this may not seem like a big deal for the Warriors on the surface, making the Iguodala contract into a sign-and-trade deal significantly affects the team's plans in a number of ways.
Creating a trade exception
Through this proposed deal, the Nuggets would obtain a $12 million trade exception from the Warriors. After the deal, the Warriors would still have trade exceptions from trading Biedrins and Rush, which the team may utilize later in the season in order to bring in a game changer at the trade deadline.
The team would then be hard-capped for the season, meaning they couldn't go over the tax apron. However with this altered deal, the Warriors now have a lot more flexibility for bringing in some more talented pieces to the puzzle. Given how the elite teams in the league consistently get solid players at affordable prices, the Warriors should now be able to entice some of the best remaining free agents to their new and improved squad.
Making way for Nemanja Nedovic
With this sign-and-trade, the Warriors are almost guaranteed to sign first-round pick Nemanja Nedovic. While he will have to be bought out of his contract in order to join the team, Nedovic may very well be the only other true point guard on the roster behind Stephen Curry, which could be a risky move. He's probably better off spending another year overseas, but apparently the Warriors think otherwise.
Scott Machado has a non-guaranteed salary and is unproven. Jarrett Jack is now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, so Iguodala might serve as the team's second-best ball handler during the season. If Nedovic is on the roster for the 2013-14 season, this inexperienced guard may be propelled into this important role.
Trading away another draft pick
For the Jazz to once again be involved in a trade that benefits the Warriors, Golden State would send a 2018 second-round pick to them in this three-way deal. Once all of their offseason trades take place, the Warriors may be without most of their draft picks for the next five years. This is quite an odd sight for a team so used to relying on the draft for bringing in talent.
While the Warriors can always trade or buy their way back into the NBA draft, as seen in past years with Jeremy Tyler, Festus Ezeli, and Nedovic, draft picks are assets. Over the past decade, the Warriors have been quite successful with their second-round selections, making great picks such as Gilbert Arenas, Monta Ellis, and Draymond Green. Losing out on these draft picks could be costly down the line.
Access to the mid-level exception
The big positive for this trade is saving the mid-level $5.15 million salary exception. By signing Iguodala outright, the Warriors would have lost this asset and would have been dealt a huge blow when it came time to round out the rest of the roster. With an improved roster, the exception may entice a solid veteran to join the rising team.
Without the mid-level exception, the Warriors would likely have to rely on free agents signing for the veteran's minimum or potential gems they find from the D-League, Summer League, or training camp. While these players wouldn't play much, have depth at the end of the bench is important if the main players struggle or get injured.
As noticed when the Warriors ran into the deep bench of the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs, teams can never have too many assets. With this sign-and-trade in the works, the Warriors may now have the space and resources needed to complete their championship-quality roster.
Austin Chang is a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports writer covering the Golden State Warriors for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and an intern for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.
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