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  • Oct

    With Nelson safe, Warriors’ last spot down to Morrow vs. Kurz

    By Geoff Lepper

    OAKLAND — DeMarcus Nelson is on the cusp of going from undrafted rookie to full-fledged member of the Golden State Warriors, with a salary of $442,114 to prove it.

    But even after his primary competition for a spot on the Warriors’ roster was shown the door Sunday, Nelson still doesn’t feel safe.

    “You can say that (I should be confident), but at the end of the day, it’s just about what the team needs at the time,” Nelson said. “I’ve just tried to contribute to the team in whatever way that I can to help the team win, and hope that it’s good enough.”

    Nelson, the Oakland-born, Vallejo-raised Duke product who came to Warriors camp with nothing more than a glimmer of hope was all but assured of making the team when Dan Dickau was waived.

    Golden State had hoped Dickau would firm up a point-guard situation thrown into flux by Monta Ellis’ injury, but the six-year NBA veteran didn’t make much of an impression after joining the squad four days into training camp. The move won’t cost the Warriors anything, since Dickau was on a make-good deal.

    “I gave him the opportunity to come back and stay an extra week, but I didn’t think he was going to make our team,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said.

    Instead, Dickau — who was originally slated to spend this season in Italy with Air Avellino but parted ways last month after his family had trouble adjusting to life abroad — went home to Portland after the Warriors returned from China this weekend.

    In his wake, Dickau received nothing but praise for his attitude and mentoring skills.

    “Dickau, he was good for me, because in the time he was here, even though we were competing for the same position, he was pulling me to the side and trying to show me different things, giving me some wisdom,” DeMarcus Nelson said. “So I definitely appreciate him for that, because he didn’t have to do things like that to help me.”

    Don Nelson has clearly been tickled with the progress DeMarcus Nelson — who was primarily a defensive stopper at shooting guard or small forward for the Blue Devils — has made in his transformation to point guard. And even though the coach wouldn’t confirm Sunday that DeMarcus Nelson has made the team, he has said on multiple occasions that he wants to take three healthy point guards into the season, and the team only has three remaining in camp: DeMarcus Nelson, C.J. Watson and Marcus Williams.

    The Warriors now have 16 players on their roster, meaning they must cut one more before next week’s regular-season opener. The leading candidates appear to be shooting guard Anthony Morrow and power forward Rob Kurz, both of whom are undrafted rookies.

    Asked if it was a two-man race for the 15th spot, Don Nelson demurred: “I don’t really want to go into it. I’ll just make that announcement when I have to.”

    Morrow has been mostly a non-factor in camp and exhibition games, but was the MVP of the Rocky Mountain Revue summer league, and knocked down a combined 17 of 23 3-pointers in the RMR and Las Vegas leagues. In addition, he has a $100,000 partial guarantee.

    Kurz, on the other hand, has been outstanding during practice, drawing raves for his rebounding and tenacity. He also knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to clinch the Warriors’ 109-108 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday.

    Unlike Morrow, however, Kurz has no salary protection. And with incumbent Al Harrington already being backed up by Brandan Wright, the No. 8 overall selection in the 2007 draft, and Anthony Randolph, the No. 14 overall pick in this summer’s draft, are there really minutes available for another power forward?

    “You have to write what you want to write on that,” Don Nelson said. “I’m not going to help you. It’s not fair to the poor sap in the other room. You’ll figure it out. You’ll write something nasty.”

    Contact: geofflepper@48minutes.net

16 Responses to “With Nelson safe, Warriors’ last spot down to Morrow vs. Kurz”

  1. That last quote by Nelly: was he directing at you, or a bunch of reporters gathered around him?

  2. Geoff,
    I must admit, my first thought upon reading the Nelson quote closing your article was that TK was there. I do find it unintentionally hilarious that someone thought they could ‘trick’ Don Nelson into revealing who was going to be cut (assuming the decision has even been made). After 30 years coaching, I think he knows that the way a player is cut is: (1) you tell the player, (2) you tell the team, and (3) the team tells the media. The press doesn’t get to rush the player and tell him he’s been voted off the island.

    I tend to agree with you that Hendrix is safe for the time being, but was curious if you know whether his contract is fully guaranteed this season. I didn’t think Lasme’s was last year, although I could be wrong. I know the rules on 2nd round draft picks’ contracts are a lot looser than for 1st rounders, but are there any typical standards (top half of 2nd round gets 1 year guaranteed, or something like that)?

    I do have a couple of other questions regarding our regular season roster. Are we watching the other teams’ waivers, with the idea that we might (for instance) cut both Kurz and Morrow if a potentially more useful player was available? What about the possibility of a minor trade? With apologies to Rob and Anthony for making an example of them again, applying them in trade for a fully guaranteed contract would save the other team some money. I believe some teams have >15 guaranteed contracts on their books. Of course, as in the waiver scenario, it would have to be to acquire a player we feel could contribute.

  3. Is Nelson’s contract fully guaranteed, or just guaranteed through the day in January when all contracts become guaranteed? I assume it’s the latter and that he’ll get cut when Monta comes back.

  4. Monta already occupies a roster spot, so we don’t have to cut anyone to bring him back. Once he looks solid, we could cut a PG if we want to add a player at a different position. Bear in mind that we can only offer minimum contracts, and there’s usually only D-leaguers available at that point, so we’d probably be just using the slot on 10-day tryouts.

    However, the trading deadline (16th Thursday of the season) is well after Ellis’ expected return date. With PGs always at a premium, we could conceivably execute a minor trade using CJ, DN, or MW for someone with NBA experience and/or a draft pick.

  5. petalumaman

    IIRC In a Rowell interview, he said Monta does not count for a roster spot. I should confirm.

  6. Jon,
    Nothing personal, but I’d want confirmation from a higher source than Rowell. Only the NBA has the power to allow us to have 16 players under contract. AFAIK, the only possible provision for this would be if Monta was declared out for the season.

  7. I can’t find it in any of Geoff’s reports with Rowell, but Hu and Kawakami also had transcripts which I could be getting confused in my head.

    I agree it seems counterintuitive that he does not cost a roster spot.

    Maybe Geoff can chime in.

  8. Rob Kurz is a 6′9″ power forward who can shoot. Not sure he’d be much of a rebounder, but with his touch, how could Nelson resist?

  9. Honestly, Morrow and Kurz don’t excite me at all. I hope we keep our eyes on the Waiver Wire. Darius Washington was waived by the Bulls, I remember he almost had a triple double against us in preseason last year. He more than held his own against BD. We should give him a look.

  10. Answering questions . . .

    Nelson’s final quote was directed at me — Tim Kawakami was not present. I still think it’s a legitimate and frankly necessary question: If Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph are the two young stud forwards you’re going to build around (along with Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins) why do you give minutes they could be developing to play a guy who is at or near the maximum of his physical capabilities already?

    Yes, Richard Hendrix’s deal is guaranteed. Lasme’s was only a partial. (I believe the Warriors got two more years of control, netting them full Bird rights, in exchange for the guarantee, but I honestly don’t remember.)

    Are the Warriors watching the waiver wire? Certainly, as every team is.

    I believe Nelson’s deal is like most make-good deals, which means it won’t be fully guaranteed until Jan. 10.

    Monta counts against the 15-player roster limit.

  11. Why this web site do not have other languages support?

  12. I don’t blame Nellie for being a little testy with the media. The TK led nastiness towards the W’s and Nelson is getting silly. I don’t like Rowell, and I’m a big Mullie fan, but some of the folks in the media really do seem to always be looking to stir up trouble more than report on the team on the court. You have always seemed resonable though Geoff, so it’s too bad you got it.

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