Dunleavy's performance worthy of consideration

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» Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:41 pm
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cct ... 411642.htm

Posted on Sat, Apr. 16, 2005

Dunleavy's performance worthy of consideration

By Marcus Thompson II


OAKLAND - Warriors forward Mike Dunleavy drew cheers nearly every time he touched the ball in the Warriors' 108-88 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Arena on Friday.

He had put up the kind of numbers many fans think he can/should produce every night: a team-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting, a season-high tying eight assists and seven rebounds in 38 minutes. But one of Dunleavy's best all-around performances of the season, which helped snap the Warriors' three-game losing streak, highlights one of the team's most critical quandaries of the coming offseason.

Is Dunleavy showcasing what's coming next season or making it easier for Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin to trade him this summer?

"I'm just trying to finish the season out," said Dunleavy, who was 4-for-7 from 3-point range as the teams set an NBA record with 69 attempts from behind the arc. "It's a big summer for our team and myself and for the NBA with a possible lockout."

Dunleavy, who will become a restricted free agent at the end of next season if he does not sign a contract extension in the offseason, has been a productive player in the Warriors' late-season resurgence. But he also is the team's most viable and sensible trading commodity.

Mullin could use Dunleavy to get the Warriors (32-48) the low-post scoring option coach Mike Montgomery says the team lacks -- whether it's a veteran big man such as New Orleans Hornets center Jamaal Magloire or a college project such as University of Utah post Andrew Bogut. Or Mullin could keep Dunleavy as part of the nucleus with point guard Baron Davis, who had 19 points and 11 assists Friday, shooting guard Jason Richardson and power forward Troy Murphy.

Dunleavy sure looked like a keeper Friday in the Warriors' rout of Portland (25-54), which was led by point guard Damon Stoudamire's 18 points (on an NBA-record 21 3-point attempts), 12 rebounds and 11 assists -- his second triple double against the Warriors this season.

"I think he's held up his part of the bargain as far as coming out and being a guy we can depend on night in and night out," guard Derek Fisher said of Dunleavy. "We have a couple guys that have long-term commitments financially already and depending on what Mike's value is on the market, it may be tough to keep him around."

If there's a luxury tax in the new collective bargaining agreement, Dunleavy may be too much for the Warriors' pockets now that they have Davis' huge contract on the books. Dunleavy could command between $50 million and $60 million, maybe more, though his ballooned salary wouldn't kick in until the 2006-07 season. But the continued growth of sophomore guard Mickael Pietrus and the surprising production from forward Zarko Cabarkapa have made Dunleavy appear to be expendable.

The thinking is that Pietrus can step in as the starting small forward. Cabarkapa, who had 14 points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes, and swingman Calbert Cheaney, who has a player option for next season that he is likely to exercise, can back up the small forward position.

But the Warriors have thrived, especially on offense, with Dunleavy on the court. They scored triple digits for the 24th time in their last 32 contests. During that span, Dunleavy is averaging 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. The uptempo offense began when the Warriors moved Dunleavy to power forward in early February.

But is it reason to keep him or motive to ship him now? As Fisher said: "It's going to be interesting to see."


• NEXT GAME: Monday, vs. Lakers, 7:30 p.m.

Pawno's thoughts: Good to see Fisher is lobbying for a starters role. Talking about Dunleavy could be expendable this offseason. If like the article suggest we can lure Andrew Bogut at Dunleavy's expense i say we take it. But firstly we should let Mullin see how much Mike D is worth and hopefully if the contract can be worked out ( we keep him ) cause 20pts 7 assists and 8 rebounds is the kind of performance you want from a SF especially if his doing it against Defensive Stoppers Rubin Patterson

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