The Golden State Warriors stood pat at the trade deadline, declining to proactively make any move for a championship-caliber roster. The buyout market is predicted to be bountiful this year: many free agents will be looking for a new home as they are bought out from their uncompetitive teams.
Naturally, the contenders are the most logical place for these players to go: Houston has already agreed to sign shooter Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright, and Boston has signed center Greg Monroe. The Warriors are undoubtedly sifting through the market trying to figure out who will be available and what they can bring to the team.
The Warriors have reportedly looked at shooters for the past couple weeks, but nothing has materialized. The team may have had interest in Joe Johnson, but he’s gone to Houston. They have not been pursuing Marco Belinelli, a shooter waived by the Hawks.
Overall, the pool of wings in buyout season will probably not be strong. Decent two-way wings are difficult to find in the modern NBA: Belinelli and Johnson, for example, are both defensive sieves. The Warriors aren’t likely to find anybody better than Nick Young or Pat McCaw here.
But there are quite a few centers that could help out the Warriors. Brandan Wright has already signed with the Rockets, but there are more out there. The Warriors could certainly use another center that could compete with Zaza and Looney for minutes.
The highly-drafted Noel is the type of long, athletic center with massive defensive potential the Warriors would be perfect with. But Noel has been injured and in the Mavericks’ doghouse all season, playing in only a handful of games. Despite the fact he’s on an expiring contract and seems unlikely to stay, the Mavericks seem to be content with him on the roster. He’s probably going to stay there.
The Warriors reportedly had interest in O’Quinn last month, and he’s a decent all-around big man. His contract is expiring, and the Knicks, especially in light of Kristaps Porzingis’ injury, want to tank. But the Knicks need big men, and it seems he’ll likely stay on the team.
Chandler isn’t an All-World rim protector anymore, but he should be a good, long defensive center on a good team. He has two years left on his contract, so he might not be bought out. But the Suns will be bad for a long time, and he’s looked unhappy there. If he’s bought out, he should be the Warriors starting center.
Zach Lowe mentioned Dedmon as an option in the buyout market for the Cavaliers, but he could be a huge addition for the Warriors. Sturdy at defense and sporting a recently-developed three point shot, he could be a permanent fixture in the Warriors’ rotation. I’m skeptical to whether he’ll be bought out, but the Hawks need to tank. It is certainly possible.
The Celtics and Rockets have already signed a center, and the Raptors have one of the deepest center rotations in the league, so the Warriors and Cavaliers are the frontrunners to land any strong free-agent big man. Given the Warriors’ superior talent and more stable locker room, they’ll probably be able to choose their favorite among any centers that are bought out. Unfortunately, this would probably bring about the end of JaVale McGee’s time as a Warrior, but the upgrades the Warriors could make are simply worth it.