Third-year point guard C.J. Watson could probably get more minutes, a more sure spot in the rotation, if he were with another NBA team. He likely would make more money, too.
But the way things are working out for Watson, he'll end up with the Warriors for less money and an underdog in the fight for minutes.
However, he has himself to blame.
Warriors general manager Larry Riley has turned down all the offers he's received for Watson, the latest and most significant coming from the Orlando Magic, according to a person close to the talks. Riley turned down a first-round draft pick, cash and a reserve guard, the source said.
Riley, per team policy, declined to comment on trade discussions. But he did say he wants Watson in a Warriors uniform next season.
"We've had substantial interest for C.J. Watson in regards to sign-and-trades," Riley said when reached by phone Monday. "We haven't had an offer that's exceeded C.J.'s value. We like C.J., and we'll be working toward bringing him back."
Watson was called up from the NBA Development League in January 2008 and emerged as one of coach Don Nelson's favorite guards last season. He has said he would like to stay in Oakland but no doubt wants more money and more minutes.
Because he's a restricted free agent, the Warriors have a right to match another team's offer to Watson even if they are over the salary cap. But Watson hasn't been able to get a team to sign him to an offer sheet, largely because Riley has made it clear he would match any reasonable offer before the seven-day grace period expires.
That seems to leave Watson with two realistic options, both of which involve staying with the Warriors.
He could play for the one-year qualifying offer, which is just over $1 million and become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.
Or, he could take the security of the three-year, $4.5 million offer he has on the table from the Warriors, which is undoubtedly less money than Watson had in mind.