While the NBA Finals may have concluded over a week ago, the true madness of the season is about to begin. The NBA Draft is just a few days away, on June 21. A mere 10 days later, free agency begins, and some players are allowed to start signing contracts. On July 6, all hell breaks loose, as all free agents can sign freely.
And the Warriors will need to make some noise. The team currently has nine players under contract, leaving six spots open. Barring a trade, their first round draft pick on Thursday will fill a tenth spot. If we assume that Patrick McCaw and Kevon Looney re-sign, then the team still has three spaces left to fill.
And don’t look now, but there’s a new and unexpected free agent on the table: Rudy Gay. Gay, a veteran forward, surprised a few people by opting out of the final year of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs, making him an unrestricted free agent.
San Antonio forward Rudy Gay is declining his player option to become a free agent this summer, league sources tell ESPN.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 18, 2018
Gay will surely be interested in the Warriors, as he signed with San Antonio due to his interest in playing for a contending club. If he opted out because of the uncertainty swarming in the organization, then he’ll likely be focused on signing with a team like Golden State.
However, after a strong season in 2017-18, there’s also a chance that Gay is opting out to seek more money elsewhere. The most Golden State can give Gay is the taxpayer mid-level exception, which wouldn’t be an increase in salary for the forward. So if opting out was a financial decision, Golden State won’t be in play, unless Gay finds out that the market is not there for him (which is entirely possible, as it should be a frugal offseason).
If Gay wants to play for the Warriors, would the team be interested? Likely so. Gay fits the Matt Barnes mold that the Warriors love so much: He’s athletic and lengthy, can defend numerous positions, and doesn’t need the ball in his hands. That said, he doesn’t have a great three-point shot (34.3% for his career, 31.4% last season) and, ideally, the team would like to improve their bench spacing, since they already have lengthy non-shooters in Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
Still, more good role players on the market means a better chance that the Warriors nab a quality player, be it Gay or someone else. Buckle up Warriors fans; the season may have ended, but the next few weeks will still be a wild ride.