It was a disappointing end to the 2020-21 NBA season for the Golden State Warriors. Despite winning 16 out of their final 22 regular season matchups the Dubs lost both play-in games and didn’t qualify for the first round of the playoffs.
The bitter ending to the season put a spotlight on how general manager Bob Myers will handle business in the coming months. The Dubs aren’t in a terrible place going into the offseason. Stephen Curry showed he can still play at an MVP-level while claiming the league’s scoring title at the age of 33. Draymond Green silenced the critics with a bounce-back year while Klay Thompson is expected to return early next season.
Re-signing Curry is at the top of the list of priorities this offseason. Myers feels good that both sides will be able to get a deal done sooner than later.
“I don’t see any reason not to be optimistic,” Myers said during his exit interview. “He seems like he’s motivated; we’re motivated. I would say pretty confident we’ll get something done.”
Steph is eleigble to sign a four-year deal worth up to $215.4 million that would keep him with Golden State through the 2025-26 season. Head coach Steve Kerr is confident that Curry will be with the team for the long-term, but he’s also excited to see what his other two prized veterans bring next season.
“Obviously we want Steph back in the worst way,” Kerr said. “There’s no reason to think why that won’t happen. We’re excited about that. We’re excited about next season. You know, coming back with Draymond [Green] and Steph playing at such a high level to finish the season and to get Klay [Thompson] back and to have the opportunity to fortify our roster, to see these young guys emerge, it’s all very exciting.”
No one knows what to expect from Thompson after missing two consecutive years with brutal injuries. Thompson ruptured his Achilles in November of last year and hasn’t suited up for a game since June of 2019.
Although Myers is excited for Thompson’s return, he’s also trying to be realistic with his expectations.
“I don’t know that it’ll be the start of the year,” Myers said. “We’ll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year, I mean Game 1. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not. That’ll be less than a year. ... I don’t know what date the season opens up, but I think that’ll be 11 months. I don’t know that that’s realistic.”
Myers acknowledged that even with Thompson back in the lineup, the Warriors need to add some veteran pieces this offseason. Young players like Jordan Poole and Mychal Mulder improved as the season went on, but the benched lacked consistency. Myers said Golden State was active in the free agent market and wanted to bring in some experience, but things changed when Thompson got hurt.
“Some even said, ‘Had Klay not gotten hurt I would have come,’” Myers said. “Who knows if that’s true or not. But that’s the thing we hope we’ve accomplished in the last couple months, is proven to some of those kind of guys, I think the Warriors can win. They have to believe that. I hope we’ve showed that we’re close. But that’s what you get when you’re looking at a vet minimum guy or a vet taxpayer that’s maybe taking less money, is can I win with the Warriors? There’s no doubt they like playing with Steph and they love Steve, and I think they view our organization as one that takes care of its players.”
Anotner young player the Dubs are hoping will make a significant jump is center James Wiseman. Last year’s No. 2 overall pick struggled to find his footing during his inaugural year, but Myers said the team intends on hanging on to Wiseman this offseason.
“I think he can help us,” Myers said. “I expect him to be on the team next year. We don’t want to trade James Wiseman. I think he’s a tremendous talent, and he was put in a position where, again, the guy is taking hopefully all of his lumps early in his career, but I think he can be very helpful to us in the future. I think he can be helpful in the present.”
The other big decision facing the Warriors this offseason is the status of soon-to-be free agent Kelly Oubre Jr. After a rocky start to the season, Oubre wound up averaging 15.4 points per game. The 25-year-old had issues with consistency but made it known to management that he would like to be back.
Oubre started a majority of the games he suited up for last season, but Kerr says he would likely be moved to a reserve role if he returns.
“Klay is going to start when he gets back,” Kerr said. “So would Kelly be interested in coming off the bench? That’s a question only he can answer. He’ll weigh his options, we’ll weigh ours, and we’ll see where it all goes. But really like Kelly, really think he’s got great potential to be very helpful on our team.”
It’s going to be a busy offseason for the Dubs. Hopefully Myers can make the right moves that will get the franchise back into championship contention sooner than later.