The other move, which is related to the first, is that in order to make room to keep Tolliver on their roster after his two 10-day contracts had run out, the Warriors had to waive a player. They decided to waive guard Speedy Claxton. At first glance, this makes sense because Claxton doesn’t play and his contract ends after this season.
The fact that Claxton’s contract ends after this season, though, is what makes the move an interesting one. Claxton’s expiring contract, worth $5.2 million, could have been a valuable trade chip at the trade deadline, since so many teams are looking to clear salary this season. Waiving him gives the Warriors a little less flexibility leading up to the trade deadline.
For example, let’s talk about the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire. I don’t think it’s likely that the Warriors would try and trade for him again, and I don’t think Stoudemire has any interest in playing for Golden State. But, for the purpose of this example, and because Stoudemire is the player involved in the most trade rumors this season, we’ll use him. Consider the Warriors and Suns were talking a Stoudemire trade. The teams had agreed on the principle players involved in the deal, Stoudemire and Monta Ellis. However, Ellis makes $11 million this season, Stoudemire makes just over $16 million. The Suns, since they’d be taking on Ellis long-term, lucrative contract, might want some cap relief to make the numbers match up and complete the deal. Throwing Claxton and his $5.2 million expiring contract into the deal would do the job. Without Claxton’s contract, the Warriors would have to come up with a combination of players — maybe Ronny Turiaf and Devean George — to make the trade work. Giving up a player of value like Turiaf might be too much for the Warriors.
In the long run, with any number of trade scenarios, having Claxton’s expiring deal as a trade sweetener could have been valuable to the Warriors. Maybe this means they’re planning on sitting out this trade season. Maybe this means the trade scenarios they’re looking at won’t require an additional $5.2 million. Maybe the Warriors really want that $5.2 million off their books at the end of the season. I don’t know. But I found the move interesting, considering the pending trade deadline (February 18).