The “bizarre” saga surrounding Golden State Warriors swingman Patrick McCaw could result in the UNLV product forcing himself off the team, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward hybrid could hope he’s dragging this situation for so long that the Warriors commit their last roster spot to someone else, so they wouldn’t match a potential offer sheet.
McCaw had a one-year, $1.7 million qualifying offer awaiting him for the next season, as well as a two-year, $5.2 million offer (second year non-guaranteed, per The Undefeated’s Marc Spears) the Warriors had on the table for him for a while — both of which he turned down hoping for a bigger contract.
The question at large: Why is a deep reserve like McCaw hard-balling a two-time defending champion?
The answers are unclear, but there is a lot that can be taken by the trail of footsteps emanating from this “strange” negotiation.
The Warriors will have three days to potentially match an offer sheet for his services, with him still remaining a restricted free agent at the end of this 2018-19 season. McCaw has yet to show up to camp during this negotiation, something that is mostly seen with star players ironing out the last details of a multi-year deal, but not with players at the back of the bench.
McCaw, 22, wants to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, according to Mark Medina and Logan Murdock of the San Jose Mercury News, but he has turned down a raise from the Warriors, perhaps because of the non-guaranteed second season. If he accepted the one-year qualifying offer, he would become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019, putting his future still under the Warriors’ control.
Head coach Steve Kerr is unlikely to be generous with added minutes for McCaw, given he has missed the first week of training camp and the Warriors’ locker room has taken note of his contract dispute. General manager Bob Myers, coach Steve Kerr and star point guard Stephen Curry have all expressed their hope for McCaw to return.
“We think about. We talk about it,” Kerr said following Monday’s practice. “But we go about our business.”
To add to that, McCaw has shown little progress from his rookie season, seeing only a minuscule uptick in his playmaking ability, despite getting two additional minutes per game since his rookie season in 2016-17 — making it unlikely he’ll garner more minutes at point due to the presence of Quinn Cook and even less so at shooting guard due to his inability to, well, shoot the ball consistently.
McCaw’s only bright spot is as a defender on the wing, but the Warriors have also upgraded there this offseason, drafting rookie Jacob Evans and signing Jonas Jerebko as a free agent — meaning, less opportunities for McCaw, who has a slight 185-pound frame.
McCaw is hoping for more opportunities, but he has done very few things to deserve them. Kerr has given McCaw the green light on multiple occasions, but he has shied away from the opportunity, failing to show the confidence to take and make the shots given to him. While he had a somewhat promising rookie season, he regressed in his second year, shooting only 40.9 percent from the field and a ghastly 23.8 percent from deep — falling far from the 3-and-D prospect they had hoped for him to be when ownership bought the 38th selection from the Milwaukee Bucks in 2016.
One thing is clear, the Warriors will not be strong-armed in this situation, as they don’t want to set a poor example for Jordan Bell, another purchased second-rounder (2017) who will be in an eerily similar situation next summer.
McCaw is hoping for more playing time, and his possibilities with this talent-loaded Golden State roster are minimal. Yet finding a team that can warrant his services can be very complicated at this point in training camp, as he figures to be either a two-way player or one who can be cut in training camp, given his limited skill set and below-average exploits during his two-year career in the league.
It’s an unfortunate situation for a player who suffered a spinal injury that forced him into a tough recovery schedule, returning only for spare minutes in each of the last six games of the Warriors’ most recent postseason run.
McCaw averaged just 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists through 30 starts in 128 appearances over the last two seasons.