Team is in no hurry to offer big deals to forwards Pietrus and Barnes
By Geoff Lepper
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Article Launched: 08/01/2007 03:00:54 AM PDT
Kevin Garnett will not be coming to Oakland this season, except in his lone visit as a member of the Boston Celtics.
In lieu of charging forward to try to make a second franchise-shaking trade in little more than six months, the Warriors are heading in the opposite direction, taking a wait-and-see position on filling out the rest of their roster.
That means more time in limbo for incumbent small forwards Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus.
The Warriors would like to keep Pietrus, a restricted free agent, but are not willing to offer a long-term contract unless another team does so first. Happy Walters, one of Pietrus' agents, said his client has received no proposal from the Warriors other than the one-year, $3.5 million qualifying offer required for the team to retain the right of first refusal.
"At this point, I don't see him willing to do that," Walters said when asked if Pietrus would simply play out the one season in order to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. "Right now, I would say no."
Walters said other clubs, such as the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks, are interested in a sign-and-trade deal with Pietrus, which would allow those clubs to offload a similar amount of salary and thus avoid paying luxury-tax fees that would essentially double Pietrus' cost. But the Warriors have shown little interest in pursuing that option as well.
"They're figuring out what they're going to do," Walters said. "That's their prerogative.
... It lets Mike know perhaps how Golden State views him."
Even though Barnes is an unrestricted free agent, he's found the market similarly constricted because of luxury-tax concerns on the part of potential suitors, and he'll be hard-pressed at this point to get even half of the starting salary he desired -- the full $5.36 million midlevel exception.
Adding to the woes for Pietrus and Barnes is the presence of other free agents, such as Miami's James Posey, who play the same position.
Posey's agent, Mark Bartlestein, confirmed Tuesday that the Warriors were still among several teams still pursuing his client, who could help replace some of the veteran presence lost when the Warriors dealt away Jason Richardson to the Charlotte Bobcats on draft night for rookie forward Brandan Wright.
Notes: Point guard Baron Davis, who can opt out of the final year of his contract after the upcoming season and is seeking an extension, said he and agent Todd Ramasar have yet to hold discussions with the team. Negotiations will have to wait at least until next week, since Davis is working on the L.A. Stars charity all-star game, which takes place Sunday in Los Angeles. Davis said he has no drop-dead date for closing the door on negotiations but that he'd would like to know either way by Oct. 2, when training camp opens in Hawaii. "If there's nothing, and I have to play, I have to play," Davis said. "If there's an extension offered this year or next year, this is a place that I love." ...Wright said his strained hip flexor, which kept him out of the Vegas Summer League last month, is almost fully healed and that he should be ready to go when he comes back to Oakland in a few weeks to start working out at the team facility. ...The Warriors may open up the 2007-08 season on the national stage. According to a league source, Golden State was scheduled to host the Utah Jazz at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 -- a rematch of the teams' second-round playoff series -- as the second game in TNT's opening-night doubleheader. However, the league pulled back the schedule in the wake of the Garnett trade, presumably to bump up the national exposure for the reconstituted Celtics. The finalized schedule is now slated for release Thursday morning.
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