There have been some peculiar moves by NBA franchises lately. First, the Minnesota Timberwolves fired their head coach after a blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Now the Golden State Warriors find themselves complaining over how another franchise handled restricted free agency. The NBA is having to intervene once again on a petty matter.
Patrick McCaw, a former Warrior, and a key role player was a restricted free agent. McCaw refused to sign the qualifying offer sheet proposed by Golden State. Nevertheless, his rights still belonged to the Warriors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers offered McCaw a two-year deal worth $6 million. Golden State had to right to match their offer and keep McCaw. They chose not to match the offer. As a result, Patrick became a member of the Cavs.
Ten days later, the Cavs released McCaw after playing in three games. Once the Warriors caught wind of this, they complained to the league. According to Mark Stern of New York Times, they wanted the Cavs to be investigated.
Golden State believes the Cavs circumvented the spirit of restricted free agency. They think the Cavs signed McCaw with the intent to release him. If they didn’t want McCaw in the first place, why bother?
On the flip side, the Cavs can claim if the Warriors wanted to keep their role player, they had the chance to do so. All they had to do was match their offer. If the Warriors did match the offer, they would have had some financial complications.
The Warriors would have had to pay $11 million in luxury tax. They could have matched Cleveland’s offer regardless of the financial ramifications. They are already paying four superstars a ton of money as it is.
One could argue the Cavs were kind of petty to sign McCaw. They have one of the worst records in the NBA. It’s not like signing him would turn their season around. They clearly wanted to irk the nerves of an arch rival.
At the same time, the Warriors are only upset because they know Patrick didn’t want to be there. “I loved playing in Golden State. I just wanted to move on.”
As a restricted free agent, McCaw had to stay in Golden State. Now that he is an unrestricted free agent, he is free to sign with any team he wants. The Warriors knew that if he had that freedom, he would be less likely to return to the defending champs.
The Warriors’ bench is one of the biggest weaknesses. If they were able to keep McCaw, he would have been a big help in that area. Now it appears he is moving on and his former team is left with five superstars. Not sure anyone will empathize with their situation.