In a year where everyone and their Mom is opting out of their contracts in the pursuit or more money and longer contracts, Kelenna Azubuike is opting in. According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, Azubuike exercised his option to stay with the Warriors for about $3.3 million in 2010-11. While that might seem like chump change while everyone talks about $100+ million deals for the max-contract guys, Azubuike’s decision should pay dividends later.
While Simmons feels that this move became almost a formality when Azubuike’s 2009-10 season was ended by a torn left patellar tendon after just nine games, I don’t quite see it that way. In those nine games, Azubuike averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, and was shooting 55 percent from the floor. Had he kept those averages up all season, you surely have to think that he at least would have tested the free agent waters.
But by returning to the Bay, what Azubuike is doing is getting himself an even more lucrative contract next summer. Ever see guys ball out in a contract year? Ever see guys ball out in a contract year in Golden State? If people think David Lee‘s stats are on steroids playing in Mike D’Antoni‘s system, then playing Nellie ball is almost certainly banned by the IOC. Another year running with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, and Azubuike could be one of the prizes of the Summer of 2011.
What do you think? Should Azubuike have opted out? How good will the Warriors be next year?
Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.