The Golden State Warriors started the season with only 14 of their 15 guaranteed roster spots filled, and that’s where they still are. The plan was to hold onto an open roster spot so that there would be roster flexibility down the line, specifically for Patrick McCaw.
With McCaw signing an offer sheet with the Cleveland Cavaliers, we’ll soon know whether or not the team plans to use the final roster spot on the third-year wing. It would seem likely that they won’t, in which case the team will continue with an open spot.
One rumored name? Robin Lopez. The center will almost surely be on the move this season, as the 9-26 Chicago Bulls have no need for a 30-year old on an expiring contract. Chicago is interested in trading Lopez, but with a $14.4 million contract for this year, that won’t be the easiest thing in the world. Which means a buyout could be on the way.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that, should that happen, the Warriors would be reasonable suitors.
“There will be little need for the Bulls to keep Lopez, 30, beyond Feb. 7 if they don’t find a workable trade for him, which may set up the former Knick to emerge as one of most coveted buyout candidates,” Stein reports. “Golden State’s positional needs also could certainly change between now and then, but Kevon Looney is the closest thing to a proven center currently available to Coach Steve Kerr.”
A traditional center certainly would make sense for the team’s 15th roster spot. The team has only four centers on their roster: Looney and Jordan Bell, who are undersized, Damian Jones, who is likely out for the year with an injury, and DeMarcus Cousins, who has yet to make his season debut. Depth, in the form of a 7-footer, would make a lot of sense.
It seems logical that Lopez would be interested in the Warriors, as they offer him a good chance at winning, and he’s spent much of his career toiling on mediocre or bad teams. Lopez also played his college basketball at Stanford, so he has some local ties as well.
On the year, the energetic big (whose twin brother, Brook Lopez is the starting center for the Milwaukee Bucks) is averaging 6.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 17.4 minutes. Over his 11-year career he has averages of 8.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.