It looks like the Golden State Warriors are about to sign small forward Rodney Carney. He’s was drafted 16th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2006 and then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He has spent time with Minnesota before signing back with the 76ers last season.
Rodney Carney is known for his freakish athleticism and impressive dunking ability, but is also known to be a decent defender. While not a ringing endorsement, it seems that Carney has the tools to be able to reliable on defense as a rotation guy, particularly if he puts his mind to it.
He’s going to help anchor the SF rotation with Dorell Wright, another young, athletic small forward that has yet to make his mark in the NBA. I like these signings because we’re getting experienced youth. In other words, these guys have been around long enough to become familiar with the NBA, its players, its teams, but have yet to live up to any sort of expectations. They’ll be hungry to change their reputation around the league, especially since their contracts are de minimis.
Details of Carney’s contract haven’t been disclosed yet, but I’ll presume its de minimis and will have little impact on the salary cap. There still be might be enough left on the Warriors’ mid-level exception to sign a Lou Amundson, a player they’ve been reported to have interest in.
It’s a bit of a gamble for the Warriors to rely on two unproven players at the same position, but they’re not asking them to do much. The Warriors already have scorers in Curry, Ellis, Lee, Williams, and Brandan Wright (the latter two off the bench), so D. Wright and Carney’s scoring will be off opportunities in transition or on a drive and kick, for example.
The Warriors seem to recognize the need for depth at the small forward position as the only player they had playing behind Dorell Wright was Reggie Williams, who is generously listed at 6’6” but is definitely a shooting guard no matter how you slice it.
Looking at the Warriors roster as-is, I see an anti-Nellie lineup that discourages playing players out of position. And while we can joke about Don Nelson finding a way to play small-ball, this roster is put together with some common sense and one where Nelson can have success with. Unlike previous years, we’ve got players with defined roles, playing in defined positions. The only undersized position is the starting shooting guard spot that Monta Ellis occupies. You have to wonder if Joe Lacob has been pulling the strings behind the scenes to construct this anti-Nellie team while waiting to be vetted for NBA ownership in order to hedge his bets against the possibility of having to keep Don Nelson aboard as training camp draws near.
Finally, this signing makes it very unlikely that the Warriors will be landing Carmelo Anthony via trade. Not that Rodney Carney is anything close to Anthony, but because the Warriors now have a well-balanced roster with the small forward position locked up with players they went out and acquired for a reason. There’s clearly a vision with the roster and adding Anthony would disrupt that vision. More importantly, Anthony would be commanding a max contract presuming he signs the 65M contract extension offered by the Denver Nuggets. It’s arguable that he isn’t worthy of a max contract given his volume scoring at average efficiency. It’s probably preferable that the Warriors keep their cheaper version of Anthony in Monta Ellis.