Not that the Golden State Warriors had any plans for Patrick McCaw after a summer and fall of non-contact, but the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers offered him a two-year, $6 million deal speaks to a basic truth about life in general and sports in particular.
There is nothing more dismal than imagining leverage where it does not exist.
McCaw and the Warriors ended their briefly incandescent but eventually frigid relationship well before the Cavs came on board, and even the delusional wing of the party which kept thinking McCaw could come back to be of service had stopped bringing up his name.
Yes, the Warriors can still technically match the Cavs' offer sheet. But you're kidding yourself if you think McCaw will suit up again for Golden State.
In short, the Warriors moved on to other solutions to their issues, and so did McCaw. The McCaw of two years ago, the energy-providing backup who could make the times when Stephen Curry wasn’t playing more bearable, had disappeared, first through injury and then through a deterioration of confidence. He still imagined himself an important part of the dynamo while the Warriors’ front office had regarded him as at best the ninth-best player on a team that already had Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and a two-headed post position to go with their four marquee players.
An easy disconnect, one that happens all the time at merely normal NBA outposts. What made it weird, though, was that it came with such speed. McCaw believed himself as integral to the process and dug in his sneakers. More to the point, he waited for them to come to him, and they waited for him to come to them.
That never ends well.
For McCaw, Cleveland represents a new version of what he had when he got to Golden State – a chance to be seen by the rest of the league. His belief that he had shown enough turned out to be just one more example of someone imagining leverage that didn’t exist at his roster position and paycheck. And the Warriors, even these Warriors who look incomplete and a bit befuddled, are still first among equals in a more competitive, but still stratified league.
In short, neither side got what it wanted, and both sides got what they deserved – a grim but only minimally contentious divorce without the messy issue of community property.
Hey, there are worse ways to go.