It seemed like a long time ago that it was reported that Dario Šarić — a key free-agent target — was all but confirmed to be the biggest veteran minimum signing by the Golden State Warriors.
Reports stated that there was a “high probability” of Šarić deciding to sign with the Warriors, who needed to add size to their roster that currently doesn’t have anyone taller than 6’9”.
Šarić is not only 6’10” — he has the exact kind of skill set head coach Steve Kerr values in a big man: intelligent, scheme-aware, and a willing passer. He’s also a capable floor stretcher, shooting 36% from beyond the arc for his career; he shot 39.1% on around five attempts per 75 possessions last season in 57 combined games playing for the Phoenix Suns and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
If the Warriors manage to land Šarić, they will have the kind of versatile stretch four they haven’t had since the departure of Otto Porter Jr., at least on the offensive end.
But it’s been nearly a week since those reports came out, and the Warriors haven’t made any progress with Šarić and his camp. The reason why seems to be tied with Damian Lillard and his trade request situation, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer.
There’s an interesting snippet in this article by Fischer that specifically mentions Šarić:
“It was evident during exit interviews with Heat players, sources said, that Miami was preparing its books for a roster-altering transaction. The Heat have told free-agent players like Malik Beasley, who agreed to a one-year contract with Milwaukee on Monday, that Miami is in a holding pattern before moving forward with its veteran-minimum signings, sources said. Other players like Josh Christopher, recently traded from Houston to Memphis, and Dario Šarić, who had a strong suitor in Golden State, could also be involved with Miami depending on these Lillard proceedings, sources said.”
If free agents such as Šarić are waiting on the Lillard situation to play out before making a decision, the Warriors could be in for a long wait. That said, it also begs the question: Are the Warriors really Šarić’s preferred destination?
This is just pure speculation, but if Šarić does want to go to the Miami Heat, it may be because the Heat are willing to offer something the Warriors can’t: an additional year. It’s similar to how the Warriors lost out on Eric Gordon because the Suns offered him an additional player-option year.
The Warriors haven’t been willing to offer the same due to two constraints: the possibility of committing an additional year to a player who doesn’t pan out; and the tax implications of adding another year to a veteran-minimum contract.
To explain further, here’s a snippet from The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:
“A veteran minimum contract for a 16-year pro such as Gordon costs $3.2 million next season, but if it’s a one-year deal, the league subsidizes nearly half of it and only about $2.01 million counts against the cap. If it’s a multi-year deal, all $3.2 million counts against the cap. Multiply it by the repeater tax and you’re talking about somewhere around a $7 million added fee if the Warriors were to offer Gordon the same multi-year minimum contract that Phoenix did.”
It’s possible that the Warriors may be staring down the same conundrum with Šarić — which could hurt their chances of securing his services.