The Golden State Warriors have a big offseason ahead of them. With Stephen Curry showing he can still play at an MVP level and the return of All-Star guard Klay Thompson, general manager Bob Myers needs to make the right moves to get the Dubs back into title contention.
Golden State’s salary cap situation will make it difficult to add substantial talent in free agency, but the team will have its $5.9 million mid-level exception to work with. Myers spoke about the need to add some veteran pieces to the second unit.
The Warriors’ bench struggled with consistency throughout the season. The non-Curry minutes were always an adventure, and head coach Steve Kerr didn’t know what he would get from the second unit each night.
Jordan Poole’s emergence helped alleviate some of the scoring pressure off Curry, but the Dubs will need more if they want to get back into the championship conversation.
Myers said there was some interest from veteran free agents during his season-ending media availability prior to the season. But once Thompson suffered an Achilles injury, some of them balked at joining the Warriors.
“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.”
The hope is that Thomson will be able to return to the court early next season, which would help entice some veterans to move to the Bay Area.
Here are four established veterans Golden State can target this offseason.
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers
The Dubs saw Green up-close when he was a part of the championship-winning Toronto Raptors team that beat the Warriors in 2019. The 33-year-old averaged 9.5 points during the regular season and shot a tidy 40.5 percent from beyond the arc. Green had a +7.1 net rating and showed he can still be a meaningful contributor on a title-contending team.
Green might get more lucrative offers on the open market and would certainly consider staying with Philadelphia if it makes an extended postseason run.
Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs
The Warriors reportedly had interested in Gay last offseason, but nothing materialized. Gay turns 35 in August but still showed he could be a capable scorer. Gay averaged 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game during the regular season. He shot 38.1 percent from 3 and still has some explosiveness to his game.
Gay’s +4.5 net rating was second-best out of any San Antonio player. The Spurs were 9.9 points better per 100 possessions with Gay on the court during the season, per NBA.com.
Nicolas Batum, L.A. Clippers
If the Clippers flame out of the playoffs for a second-straight year, it’s likely the organization will make some significant changes. Batum played in 67 games during the regular season and averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Batum will turn 33 in December but has shown he can still be an above-average defensive player. His 108.2 defensive rating was fourth-best on LA, and the team was 5.3 points better per 100 possessions, with Batum was in the game. He has shown he can still be a key piece on a good team and would be a great fit coming off the bench for the Dubs.
Andre Iguodala, Miami Heat
Could the former Warrior return to his old stomping grounds? Iguodala struggled during his stint with the Heat. He only played 21.3 minutes per game and averaged a career-low 4.4 points. Iggy’s offensive game fell off a cliff as well. He shot a career-worst 38.3 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
His 108.1 defensive rating was the highest of his career, and Miami was actually better overall when Iguodala was on the bench. The 37-year-old was a key piece for the Warriors during their historic five-year run. It remains to be seen what level of interest Golden State would have in a reunion with Iguodala, but given what he means to the franchise and his relation with the Big 3, it might be worth taking a flier on the veteran.
Which free agent veteran would be the best fit with the Warriors next season?
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