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Warriors sign Otto Porter Jr. to vet minimum

Free agency is officially underway

Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA free agency is officially underway, and the Golden State Warriors have made their first splash, agreeing to a veteran’s minimum deal with 28-year old wing Otto Porter Jr.

Signing Porter is a strong move for the Warriors, but the fact that he joined on a veteran’s minimum feels equally notable. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Porter turned down the midlevel exception from another team to join the Warriors for a sizable discount.

This means two things: first, the Warriors still have the mid-level exception to use on a different player, which is a vital roster construction tool. And second, the Warriors are already showing more signs of being able to attract free agents than they did a year ago. A veteran taking a big pay cut to join the Dubs is something we got used to when the team was stacking trophies, but it was absent last year. Perhaps others will follow Porter’s lead.

But most important is the player Golden State is getting, and Porter is a good one. He had a down year last year, as he struggled to find a role — and health — first on a rebuilding Chicago Bulls team and then on a bad Orlando Magic team. That resulted in averaging just 9.7 points and 5.4 rebounds, and shooting 37.5% from three-point range. Still, the Warriors would be happy with that production after their bench struggles a year ago.

The biggest thing that Porter brings is a high-quality three-point shot with versatile defense. He’s a career 40.2% shooter from long range, on decent volume (3.3 attempts per game). He’ll be able to space the floor, even if just as a three-and-D option. He’s a quality defender with the height (6’8), wingspan (7’1), and athleticism to defend almost any position.

With the exception of last year, Porter has graded out as a very good player by every advanced metric over the last five or so years, so there’s reason to think the Dubs got a good one.

Depending on who else is added in free agency, Porter could start on the Warriors until Klay Thompson returns, then transition into a bench role.

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