Point guard C.J. Watson grew up in Las Vegas, the land of craps tables and roulette. So perhaps his gambling on his contract shouldn't come as a surprise.
According to a source close to the negotiations, Watson still is planning to sign with the Warriors. But he's intent on signing for the qualifying offer of just over $1 million and not the three-year deal he has on the table.
Watson is not the only one gambling. The Warriors are placing a small bet on 7-foot, 225-pound post Mikki Moore. According to team sources, the 12-year veteran agreed to a one-year deal for the veterans' minimum, which is $1.3 million for this level of experience.
Moore has played both power forward and center, but his production has tapered off lately. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.2 minutes between Sacramento and Boston last season. He's played for nine teams the last seven seasons.
Swingman Stephen Jackson took a sizable gamble. He was still unavailable for comment Monday, three days after publicly voicing his desire to be traded. But it caused enough of a ripple for Warriors general manager Larry Riley to release a statement.
"Stephen Jackson has been a true professional since arriving here three seasons ago," Riley said, "and our expectations of him have not changed despite his recent comments. He's been one of our most consistent and productive players during that time. We expect that same display of professionalism as we begin to
Watson is heading into camp, according to a source close to the negotiations, with designs on staying healthy and improving on last season, when he averaged 9.5 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting with 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes.
Signing the qualifying offer would make Watson an unrestricted free agent next offseason. But it also means he would be walking away from a three-year, $5.4 million contract offer from Golden State, which is up from its $4.5 million offer. The Warriors, according to the source, also agreed to make the third year a player option.
But Watson apparently wants more. He's also, the source said, not encouraged by the fact that he's slated to be the third point guard — behind starter Monta Ellis and rookie Stephen Curry — for the next three years. Nor that the Warriors did not pull the trigger on a trade that would've sent him to Orlando, where he would've been entrenched as the backup point guard.
Still, Watson has not signed the offer sheet. There is a chance the Warriors will improve their offer, the source said.