ALAMEDA — Corey Maggette spent his first official morning as a Warrior autographing jerseys and posing for photos at a youth basketball camp Friday. He dispensed advice — work hard, listen to your coaches — to youngsters.
He also conducted a hoops town hall. One kid asked how Maggette thought he would fit with the Warriors.
"In a Don Nelson system, it's run-and-gun," he said. "That's what I do best — playing up-tempo basketball. With the Clippers, I've been in a post-up game. So I'm looking forward to playing here."
Maggette completed his whirlwind Golden State courtship with his formal introduction — including the obligatory donning of a Warriors jersey. He seemed genuinely excited. And who wouldn't be after just agreeing to a five-year deal worth $50 million?
But he also seemed a bit mystified how, in the game of free-agent musical chairs, he landed with the Warriors, Baron Davis was a Los Angeles Clipper and Elton Brand ended up in Philadelphia.
He contends the plan had been for the trio to re-create the Boston Celtics' Big Three act in Clipperland. But then, Maggette kept saying, everything changed. Hence, Maggette in Warriors clothing.
"I'm still stunned by what happened and that I'm in the Bay Area," said Maggette, 28. "It's kind of surreal." Later he added: "I'm just trying to soak all this in. It's funny how this worked out."
Maggette is sort of a well-compensated consolation prize after the Warriors lost Davis and then whiffed on their attempts to lure Brand and Gilbert Arenas.
He doesn't address the team's pressing needs at point guard or for a strong rebounder. But Maggette is an athletic, 6-foot-6 swingman who averaged 22.1 points a game last season and is suited for fast-paced Nellie Ball.
The Warriors have been loaded with big guards/small forwards in recent years. But Maggette represents an upgrade and possesses one skill the team has lacked — someone who consistently drives to the hoop to score ... or at least get fouled.
Oh, and Maggette can hit his free throws — he's an 82 percent shooter. And that's an area where the Warriors have been woeful.
He also has the reputation as a good locker room presence who is a workout demon. Warriors executive Chris Mullin told MediaNews this week he hopes Maggette can be a leader whom the younger Warriors will emulate both on and off the court.
Ego doesn't appear to be a problem, either. Maggette agrees that the Warriors now are Monta Ellis' team, and that his job is to do everything he can to help him thrive.
"When you're the point guard, you have to be the general on the floor," Maggette said. "Me, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington are the backbone."
But as free agency dawned on July 1, it appeared highly unlike that he would be part of the Warriors anatomy.
Both Maggette and Brand opted out of their Clipper contracts. But Maggette claimed it was their intent to stay in Los Angeles — adding he was willing to take less money than he could get elsewhere.
When Davis made his NBA-shaking decision to sign with the Clippers, Maggette said they all were calling and text-messaging one another about how they could be a West Coast version of the Celtics. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen merged forces this season to win a title.
"I was having phone conversations with Baron, and he was saying, 'This is going to be great. With E.B. and (Chris) Kaman healthy, we've got everyone here we need,'" Maggette recalled. "We were trying to do what Boston did."
Alas, the Clippers' blueprint for NBA domination "lasted about 12 hours when we were all on the same page. Then in one phone call, everything started going haywire."
Brand told Maggette he had begun leaning toward Philadelphia's $80 million offer. So, Maggette explored his other options. He considered Boston and San Antonio. But because of the NBA salary cap, they were limited to giving him a mid-level exception contract, which starts at $5.6 million the first year.
The Warriors blew that away with a hefty offer averaging $10 million a year.
The end result?
"Baron's there. I'm here. And E.B. is in Philly."
As the NBA world turns.
Maggette said he's expecting the Warriors' summer of extreme makeover to continue. They have signed the Lakers' Ronny Turiaf to a four-year, $17 million offer sheet.
"And I know they're not done yet," he said.
Maggette visited the Warriors' facility for a tour and physical Thursday. Afterward, he asked if he could shoot.
"So I got a pair of Matt Barnes' old shoes, and I ended up staying for two hours,"' he said. "Chris Mullin called wanting to know where I was. When they told him, he said: 'Let him work. I don't want to talk to him right now.'"
Not when his newest acquisition already was getting ready for next season.
Contact Mark Emmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.