The Warriors traded for a point guard Wednesday, a player once considered one of the finest in the nation, but fans shouldn't take this the wrong way: Acie Law, acquired along with guard Speedy Claxton in the deal for Jamal Crawford, is not considered the team's point guard of the future. This is mostly a flexibility move regarding the salary cap, a glaring issue for the Warriors with so many players locked into long-term deals. It's all about expiring contracts both Law and Claxton, unloading salary Crawford and creative ways to improve the roster in the long-term.
Coach Don Nelson and general manager Larry Riley were not in position to comment on the deal, first reported by ESPN on Wednesday afternoon, as it may not become official until Wednesday. That's the cutoff point for Crawford to exercise his right to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. With $9.3 million coming his way next season and another $10.1 million due the following year, Crawford is unlikely to do so.
A league source indicated that at some point within the next few days, Crawford will sign a document stating that he will not opt out, at which point the trade can be consummated.
It had been clear for months that the Warriors wanted to unload Crawford's contract. Late last season, Nelson told Crawford that he didn't fit into the Warriors' plans and he'd be traded if he didn't opt out. Crawford now joins an Atlanta team that has reached the playoffs the past two years, although there's no guarantee he will crack the starting lineup.
It's conceivable that neither of the new acquisitions will even be on the Warriors' roster when the season begins. Expiring contracts are attractive to most NBA teams, especially in times of economic crisis, and each player fits into that category Claxton at $5.2 million, Law at $2.2 million.
Claxton, who played for Golden State in the 2003-04 and '04-05 seasons, has been stifled by a left-knee injury for two years playing two games last season and doesn't figure into the Warriors' plans at all. The 6-foot-3 Law has a reputation to resurrect, but he could be a different story.
Nelson was a big fan of Law's during the 2006-07 collegiate season, after which the Hawks made him the No. 11 pick in the draft. A first-team All-American on several lists, Law became known as "Captain Clutch" as he led Texas A&M into the NCAA Tournament in his senior year. His 26 points keyed a second-round victory over Louisville and a trip to the Sweet 16, where the Aggies lost to Memphis 72-69.
Law was strictly a bench player in Atlanta, where Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson dominated the backcourt minutes. Law averaged 15 minutes and 4.2 points per game his rookie year, slipping to 10 minutes and 2.9 points last season.