With his days a UNLV Runnin’ Rebel in the past, former fan favorite guard Patrick McCaw is looking for a new NBA home. McCaw is currently a restricted free agent after turning down two contract offers from the Golden State Warriors this offseason. The gifted guard has not been with the team and wasn’t with the club on opening night to receive his championship ring from last season.
The guard spent the last two seasons as a reserve contributor for Golden State, playing in a career-high 71 games for the team in his rookie season. He only played in 57 games his sophomore year, the 2017-18 season, before suffering a back injury on March 31. He landed flat on his back after attempting a layup and spent the next several minutes writhing on the floor in pain before being stretchered off the court.
Three days later, he offered his first comments about the injury on social media.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers! God definitely is watching over me, I'm blessed beyond measure! @mrvincecarter15 I know you didn't mean to harm me in any way! To my coaches, teammates, friends and family I love you guys so much for being there with me!!!
— Patrick McCaw (@PMcCaw0) April 2, 2018
After the season ended, and McCaw received his second championship ring, the drama began. Since he was a second round pick, McCaw became a restricted free agent. From there, he turned down a pair of offers from the Warriors to return. The first was a one-year deal worth $1.7 million, the second a two-year contract for $5.2 million where the second year was a team option according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
By shunning these offers, McCaw has shown that he’s looking for more than checks in the bank. He wants a bigger role and an opportunity to show what he can do in serious minutes. With the desire for a bigger role, and the Warriors having finalized their roster on Oct. 13, McCaw is now safe to look elsewhere for a deal without the worry that Golden State will match any offer sheet that comes his way, although head coach Steve Kerr didn’t rule out McCaw returning to Golden State.
Steve Kerr: “The door is still open for Patrick [McCaw].”
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) October 25, 2018
With that in mind, there are a few teams that could use a player with the skill set he showcased as a Rebel (which is a long, defensive-minded guard who can be a Swiss-army knife on offense), but hasn’t had a chance to show off in the NBA.
McCaw can get in on the ground floor of what will be one of the most exciting teams in the Western Conference. With all eyes on the superstars across the California coast, the Mavericks have built a young team with an intriguing core that McCaw can blend well into.
McCaw can use his game to compliment Harrison Barnes, who also found greener pastures away from the Oracle Arena, and learns from a 3 and D innovator in Wesley Matthews. He’ll also get to work as the defensive protector for Dennis Smith Jr. while giving Luka Doncic room to create for himself and the rest of the Dallas squad.
Off the court, he can become a leader in the clubhouse. McCaw was well-liked within the Golden State locker room and can carry that into Dallas. He’ll also get a chance to work with former College Player of the Year Jalen Brunson, who has many of the traits that McCaw used to get himself into the league.
Best case: Rick Carlisle realizes that with McCaw on the court, he can have the rest of the offense do whatever they want. Harrison Barnes and McCaw stay the consistent men in the middle while Doncic, Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan make the team a nightly highlight reel. McCaw has the time of his life as he heads to the playoffs for the third straight year.
Worst case: Carlisle and the Mavericks say defense be damned. Doncic and Smith Jr. become the backcourt duo with J.J. Barea as the first man off the bench. Matthews remains the backup shooting guard and McCaw’s minutes are limited to him being Barnes’ backup.
Portland Trail Blazers
This is a spot that (on paper) makes plenty of sense. If McCaw were to ride north and find himself in Portland, he could be on a team that highlights his strengths and lets him hide the weaknesses in his game. The Trail Blazers already have players that can score in droves with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but McCaw can be the defensive help that they both need.
He is capable enough as a ball handler and distributor that he would pair well offensively as either their third piece, or as a reserve to let one of Lillard or McCollum head to the bench for a spell.
McCaw has a similar build to Evan Turner as well, but is Turner’s junior by eight years, and offers significantly more upside than veterans like Nik Stauskas or Maurice Harkless. It may not be the best place for McCaw to be a star, but it would let him showcase his skills as a vital role player on a team that should sneak into the playoffs.
Best case: McCaw becomes the complimentary piece that lifts Portland into the next echelon of teams in the West.
Worst case: It’s Golden State part two. Surrounded by superstars, McCaw sees his role diminish, despite that being the reason he left the Warriors in the first place.
New Orleans Pelicans
Coming to the Big Easy is a boom-or-bust situation for McCaw and it all depends on one man. Jrue Holiday. If Holiday is healthy and running the point, then McCaw is the man. He’s versatile enough to play as a 2/3 combo defender and is an upgrade over older players like E’Twaun Moore and Jordan Crawford.
But if it’s Holiday at the shooting guard spot and Elfrid Payton running the offense, this is nowhere for McCaw to be. Pairing with another shoot-last guard like Payton would put McCaw’s offensive skill gaps on full display.
Best case: Highlights for days when McCaw steals become Anthony Davis alley-oops. He also gets the freedom to lead the second unit with people like Nikola Mirotic around him.
Worst case: Everyone in New Orleans gets hurt and McCaw is left with no way to thrive.