Report: Warriors will keep Gerald Wallace

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The Warriors positioned themselves to save about $24 million by trading David Lee for Gerald Wallace.

They could save an additional $24 million this season by stretching Wallace, but they apparently won’t go that route.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Warriors have plenty of time to change their mind. As long as they waive Wallace by Aug. 31, they can stretch him, spreading his remaining $10,105,855 salary over the next three seasons.

Really, there isn’t much incentive to do it before then.

By delaying, Golden State gives itself a chance to use Wallace’s expiring contract to facilitate a trade. Keeping Wallace into September would also allow the Warriors to use his contract in a preseason or mid-season trade.

But a deal is unlikely. The biggest basketball reason not to stretch Wallace is to keep his salary off the books in 2016 and 2017, when Golden State might have cap room to pursue free agents (like Kevin Durant next summer).

If the Warriors keep Wallace, they might give him minutes in a very limited role. Wallace, who turns 33 this month has lost much of the athleticism that once helped make him an All-Star. But he still possess some defensive versatility that would fit well in Golden State’s switching scheme.

The smart financial play is to stretch Wallace. But for building the best basketball team, keeping him is the right move – not for what he can do on the court, but to pay him all his money now rather than taking a small hit later and maybe to use him in a trade.

The Warriors must choose their priority. They have several weeks to decide for certain.