The Golden State Warriors entered free agency with an expected bang, re-signing franchise legend and future Hall of Famer Draymond Green within seconds of the free agency period officially starting.
Then things cooled off considerably. Then they made as good of a move as one could have possibly hoped for given their extreme fiscal restraints when they nabbed stretch big Dario Šarić to a minimum contract.
And then things got quiet again. And now they’ll stay quiet.
Functionally, the Warriors have only one roster spot available. Technically they have two, given that their roster currently only has 13 players on it: Green, Šarić, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II, Cory Joseph, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Brandin Podziemski, and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
But really, it’s one. New GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. hinted at them only using 14 roster spots to start the season, and The Athletic’s Anthony Slater recently wrote that “behind-the-scenes signals leave it as improbable” that they would sign a 15th player. The reasoning is the same as it was last year when they did the same: signing a 15th player will cost the team tens of millions of dollars, while leaving a spot open gives them more roster flexibility down the road should a two-way contract shine, a needle-moving midseason buyout become available, or a compelling one-for-two trade presents itself.
So only expect the Warriors to sign one more player before opening night, plus their trio of two-way contracts.
But don’t expect that “one more player” to sign anytime soon. The remaining free agency crop is fairly grim, with Slater mentioning in the aforementioned article that the Warriors are “likely to take a patient wait-and-see approach before committing a guaranteed contract to somebody in that 14th slot, team sources indicated to The Athletic.”
This is likely by design. It might look like the Warriors got caught napping, and sat on their hands while other teams made moves. But take a cursory glance at the free agents who have signed in the league this year, and you won’t spot many game changers on minimum contracts. And the reality is that a lot of the offseason’s notable free agents don’t become available until later in the offseason, when they reach buyouts with their current teams. If the Warriors were to lock in all their roster spots, they wouldn’t have the availability to sign a veteran who gets bought out later in the offseason, which is how they got JaMychal Green last year (a cheeky move from a process standpoint, even if the results weren’t good).
And if no one becomes available? Well, the Dubs can always have a camp battle as they’ve had in prior seasons. Gui Santos and Lester Quiñones both look like players hell bent on proving that they belong on an NBA roster.
In other words, enjoy Summer League. Turn off the alerts from Woj and Shams. It’s a long time before the season starts ... and probably nearly as long before the Warriors sign another player.