Free agency; intrigue of Klutch, Draymond & Juan Toscano-Anderson; Brunson comp for Poole?
[Deep dive on NBA Free Agency]
NBA free agency is upon us and I’ve had scores of conversations, notes, quotes and whatever, from as objective and journalistic theme as possible, on our Discord server — a platform of which I haven’t figured out what to do with for LetsGoWarriors yet; it will be figured out by training camp, though. For now, the YouTube channel still remains the primary source of LGW content. In fact, I plan to do an NBA Free Agency livestream starting at 3PM or around that time, although again for now, it will be primarily on Facebook and Twitch (easy to remember: https://twitch.tv/letsgowarriors). By the way the COMMUNITY section on your YouTube mobile app keeps you updated on that and more.
So the following stuff on free agency and the Golden State Warriors’ depth chart is another “core dump”. I just don’t know any other way to do it. Discord offers a platform where I can easily post and store my commentary and our “brain trust” of core members sometimes comment too, but I do plan to figure out how to do more on this site by training camp — or maybe it will stay the same, we’ll see.
Before I begin, to me, the most intriguing topic of free agency from the Golden State Warriors angle, given certain other developments probably have no surprises (read on below) is Juan Toscano-Anderson joining Klutch Sports agency and Draymond Green on the parade bus, posting very excited Instagram stories with uber-agent Rich Paul. Klutch announced JTA as their new client the morning of the parade. The writing was therefore on the wall. Green obviously had a part in that; there is no doubt Draymond recruited Juan to Klutch. But Klutch usually has bigger names. Is this marketing-related? Both? I think only time will tell, in that whatever contract from another team awaits, we shall see. It may reveal the under-workings of Bob Myers’ decision not to extend the qualifying offer to Juan, which to most people and myself seemed like a no-brainer because it was “only” $2.1 million. Does Klutch have a verbal commitment for $5 million somewhere? 🤔
The other thing is, all sides right now have to remain tight-lipped. So I was not surprised when The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson (you’ll see more below) didn’t reveal anything about Klutch or anything concrete on JTA’s suitors. And as far as my intrigue: How will Toscano-Anderson’s deal reflect on Klutch? Might we see more Warriors players introduced to them via Draymond? By the way, Green’s summer so far looks like a home run in the brand management category (more on this later as well). Will Juan’s brand rise too, in due time?
I’ll start with Juan and dovetail into the depth chart. Again, these are copy/paste’s from our Discord and beyond the first two topics, kind of a mish-mash in somewhat reverse chronological order, sorry. I’ll claim “New Media” status. 😆 Also, in the name of efficiency Substack still doesn’t allow me to do linking when I write these on my iPhone via Discord, so if you see a URL and feel compelled, copy and paste it in your browser. Finally, I do have notes, quotes and video (see YouTube) from the Summer League California Classic first practice yesterday, but I’ll probably post that some other time.
Marcus’ interview with Juan doesn’t reveal a whole lot more than what we already know about him. Here’s an excerpt that doesn’t specify if it’s actually the teams interested in him or that should be interested in him, but then again I don’t think anything can be specified right now due to tampering rules: https://theathletic.com/3392249/2022/06/30/juan-toscano-anderson-warriors-free-agent/
Toscano-Anderson said some teams have already expressed interest. It’s his first time in this position. The Oakland streets in him keeps him from speaking on moves yet to be made. He also has a healthy skepticism about what’s real and what’s smoke. But he knows he wants to win and to be on a team that values what he contributes to winning. He wants to be part of a good culture, whether building or elevating.
Several teams with a hill to crest could use a versatile defender and gamer like Toscano-Anderson — Utah, Dallas, Phoenix, Brooklyn, Chicago. Several teams teeming with fresh energy and looking to build into a playoff team could use a player like him — Charlotte, Portland, Washington, Sacramento.
WARRIORS DO NOT EXTEND JUAN QO
The tweet below let us know. Maybe the money was too much? We’ll see what Klutch comes up with. If it’s big money, then all parties did the right thing. Better to hit the market as an UFA than a RFA, I would imagine although I’m a casual on this stuff:
Good work, Connor Letourneau. However, the writing was definitely on the wall when Juan signed with Klutch officially the day of the parade, as announced by Klutch on IG. If he signs a substantially bigger contract somewhere else, then I bet what happened was he knew that deal was coming, he let Bob know, and that’s that. But we’ll never know because those details rarely get revealed: https://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/warriors/article/Why-Juan-Toscano-Anderson-s-feel-good-story-17275101.php
according to a league source, a roster crunch and financial considerations ultimately led Golden State to let him become an unrestricted free agent.
WHEN QO FOR JUAN WAS STILL EXPECTED
I just can’t believe $2.1M plus luxury taxes was the issue for GSW. So you’re gonna quibble over a roughly $1M difference or, what, $3M in luxury taxes so $4M total salary plus tax vs 3x in taxes on a $2M salary or $8M total salary and tax? So that’s a difference of $4M worst-case. It’s almost disrespectful to Juan to quibble over $4M (on GSW’s operational budget, i.e., a drop in the bucket, an electron spin in the bucket!). Why would he want to stay with GSW at that point? Loyalty goes both ways. But hey, what do I know. As I’ve said, I’m a bit of a casual when it comes to CBA stuff. If Bob doesn’t extend the QO to “lock in” Juan at the $2.1M then idk what’s happening. Could be outside forces as well. Could be I just don’t have a firm grasp of this one. By the way, Tim Kawakami tweeted something yesterday in passing about the luxury tax being 7x. I’ve just assumed 3x tacked on to the original salary for now.
Let’s say Marcus is right (see tweet below) with most of this roster, esp with Beli as the third “center” and GP2 as a “wing”. Then, if Andre Iguodala is another wing, you only have one slot left for that veteran free agent Bob talked about last week. But then do you fill that 15th slot or leave it open just in case? Maybe another non-guaranteed for Damion Lee if the market is dry, where you’re searching for the next Otto at a vet min? Man, it’s crazy this team got seriously younger (assuming lost Otto Porter, Juan and DLee).
I keep thinking esp with zero development coming up and the broken foot, Ryan Rollins could be had on a two-way. Idk what the rules are for waiving Les Quinones, but another option is to sign Weatherspoon to a non-guaranteed in the 15th spot a la Damion Lee, which then leaves one spot for a vet min other than Nemanja Bjelica and Andre.
Quinndary has a QO on the two-way so maybe procedurally you he would sign that, then you give him the standard NBA contract albeit guaranteed which then frees up Rollins to take the two-way. Not sure if this is how it would work, I could be way off.
The buyout market (via Danilo Gallinari talk) around February trade deadline makes me think Bob, as he has done in the past, might not use the TPMLE or much of it, just in case. “Optionality” is his favorite word.
FREE AGENT TARGETS
Here’s my list of Otto Porter-type “vet wings” who are at the vet min level, with help from Keith Smith’s “Best SF Free Agents article”: http://www.spotrac.com/research/NBA/2022-nba-free-agent-position-series-small-forwards-1528/
• Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot
• Danuel House
• Derrick Jones, Jr. (would have to have not great offers, i.e., reclamation project, maybe use some TPMLE as he made $9.7M on a two-year deal via POR using its MLE in 2020-21 then traded to CHI, per Keith Smith below)
Jones really struggled after leaving Miami for Portland a couple of years ago. He got back to his around-the-rim ways to some extent in Chicago. But Jones needs to recapture that Heat magic and re-find his game if he wants more than the minimum.
BIRD RIGHTS STUFF
• Looney has Full Bird Rights (a big number! Ergo we shouldn’t worry too much about competing offers)
• GP2 has Early Bird Rights (~$10M league average)
• Otto has Non-Bird Rights (120% raise only)
• Bjelica has Non-Bird Rights (120% raise only)
• Damion has Full Bird Rights (but now we’re thinking he can be had on a non-guaranteed to keep a spot flexible, but this depends on his other offers)
• Juan was a RFA per SpoTrac at $2.1M QO
There is a “slush fund” of $6.34M (TPMLE) they can use to add onto any of those contracts (well, Looney won’t need it as they can pay him up to 20-35% of the cap).
BRUNSON WILL BE A COMP FOR POOLE
At times it feels like NYK is just stuck being NYK. Maybe it’s the curse of being a struggling team in a big market although I’m sure it just really boils down to ownership rather than some point in time. But I get it that NYK can’t go into tank mode like OKC, so I’m honestly not outraged by the Jalen Brunson numbers, just as I wasn’t outraged back when Zach LaVine signed the mega-contract with CHI and a writer from The Athletic insisted to me that that was a bad deal. Btw, I’m also happy for Jordan Poole in Brunson being a big blip on the comps radar for shooting guards.
Back to LaVine/NYK, CHI had to do something to keep fans in the seats and sell a few more season tickets, keep their local cable company happy and keep hope alive. It could be a similar situation here with NYK, at least as long as it’s the same ownership.
Jake Fischer of BR originally reported $25M for Brunson, then Chris Haynes topped that number: $27.5M average. That’s even higher than the $25M figure tossed around for Poole’s extension. And we all agree JP is better than Brunson, right?
LOONEY AND GP2
According to six NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype, Looney could command $9 million annually in free agency.
Payton II could make $6-7 million annually , according to six NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype.
Marc Spears offers thoughts on Looney and, shown below, Gary Payton II: https://www.knbr.com/2022/06/28/marc-j-spears-discusses-likelihood-of-warriors-re-signing-looney-porter-and-payton-ii/
“Remember that Jason Kidd and Gary Payton Sr. go back a long, long time. They are very close friends. Kidd has known Payton II since he was born, so that’s family. So if somebody is going to steal him away it’s family.
“So I’m curious are the Warriors willing to pay $10 million for him? What’s going to be the number, but certainly keep an eye on Dallas for Payton as a really, really strong suitor.”
QO ON TWO-WAYS: WEATHERSPOON, MANNION
According to this, in which Keith Smith said yes to these questions, my thinking is that in all likelihood GSW knows Nico will stay with Bologna because that contract is significantly higher (double?) than the two-way one and he’s probably locked in with the Italy contract anyways. So, Nico will not sign the two-way QO which effectively poses no threat to Quinndary’s offer. And if they do both sign theirs than, ok, waive Quinones. By making the QO they do retain Mannion’s rights just in case something happens (knock on wood) and GSW needs a backup pg late in the season after Italy is done, or something.
Here’s Keith Smith’s outlook for Bjelica (Blake Griffin is 14th lol): http://www.spotrac.com/research/NBA/2022-nba-free-agent-position-series-power-forwards-1530/
13. Nemanja Bjelica – Golden State Warriors (unrestricted): Bjelica won a championship playing for the veteran minimum last season. He might like to cash in on a bigger deal, but at 34 years old, it’s hard to see Bjelica getting much more. He should re-sign with the Warriors and run it back as depth option for Steve Kerr.
From Jovan Buha, Los Angeles Lakers beatwriter: https://theathletic.com/3386746/2022/06/29/lakers-free-agency-rankings/
Players the Lakers will target with their full TPMLE include Otto Porter Jr. according to multiple league sources. Players the Lakers will be interested in for the partial MLE or minimum contracts include Nemanja Bjelica and Juan Toscano-Anderson, according to league sources.
I actually agree with this (see below). I think we sign GP2 for a lot (up to $10M max, which gut feel sounds doable) and lose Otto unless Otto signs a one-year at the TPMLE and says, “F— it, run it back.” Don’t think even GSW would sign him to more than one year given the foot issue, and the standard policy of one-year contracts to round out the roster. Anyways, still early but that’s my gut feel for today: http://www.spotrac.com/research/NBA/2022-nba-free-agent-position-series-power-forwards-1530/
4. Otto Porter Jr. – Golden State Warriors (unrestricted): In a very real sense, the Warriors are going to have to choose between Porter and Gary Payton II this summer. Only one of them can get the Taxpayer MLE. Despite Porter finding his game again after a couple of down years, Payton fills a bigger need for the champs. That should make Porter available for those teams looking to take Golden State down next season.
Hope I covered everything. If not, hope to do better next time. Also, I have tons and tons of content stored up. The issue has been how to release it with only 24 hours per day. It’s overwhelming, sometimes causes me to freeze. But yeah hit the YouTube channel for the regular pipeline. See you there at 3PM and details on how to watch me and our community go live on Facebook and Twitch for covering all this content since the parade plus NBA Free Agency. Oh wow, Kevin Durant asked for a trade! Now I know why people keep saying this is the most entertaining day of the NBA.