In their approach to the trade deadline and the buyout market, the Warriors were open to making a deal but felt no sense of urgency. The loss of Pat McCaw for an indefinite period should change their thinking.
McCaw sustained a non-displaced fracture in his left wrist Monday night in the game against the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena. He will be in a cast for 10 days and won’t be evaluated until mid-March, the Warriors announced Wednesday.
A source close to the second-year guard indicated Wednesday that it’s too soon to establish a timeline, but it is conceivable McCaw could miss six weeks, maybe more.
The Warriors shouldn’t be comfortable being shorthanded. They owe it to themselves to accelerate their search for help, particularly on offense.
The Warriors were and still are researching guards and forwards capable of stretching the floor with the second unit. They opened training camp in September believing McCaw could help fill that need. He shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc in his rookie season.
But he has struggled for most of the season, shooting 25 percent from deep and 44 percent overall. His minutes have been sporadic, too, prompting McCaw to request a few games with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors to play extended minutes.
McCaw’s performance against the Suns was encouraging, as he scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 1-of-2 from deep, in eight first-half minutes before leaving the game with the wrist injury that was not immediate diagnosed.
“He’s played well,” Kerr told reporters after shootaround in Portland on Wednesday. “It wasn’t just the one game where the ball went in for him, the (Phoenix) game. It was over the previous few games. His defense, his energy has been good.”
The chances of the Warriors making a roster move in the coming weeks have gone from 50-50 to more like 80-20. They favor wings, but would be open at other positions.
Here are a few of the potential buyout candidates they likely would consider:
Shabazz Muhammad: The 6-foot-6 wing has fallen out of the rotation in Minnesota and could be bought out. He’s a 31.7-percent shooter from deep, with a career-high of 39.2 percent in 2014-15. He shot 33.6 percent last season but is at only 21.1 percent this season. He’s an aggressive and effective penetrator, a poor man’s Tyreke Evans. The rumor is he could be bought out to make room for Derrick Rose.
Channing Frye: The 6-10 veteran power forward is a specialist at stretching the floor. He’s not much of a defender and he doesn’t rebound as well as he once did. But he can still make 3-pointers. He’s shooting 44.2 percent from deep for his career but is at 49.7 percent this season. The Cavaliers traded him last week to the Lakers and it would surprise no one he they buy him out.
Ersan Ilyasova: Another stretch-4 who, at 6-10, offers little other than the ability to shoot from deep. The Hawks are said to be considering buying him out, in which case there will be a market for a veteran who is a career 33.6-percent shooter from deep. He’s at 35.9 percent this season.
It’s possible the Warriors will not make a move, opting instead to rely on Nick Young and Omri Casspi to produce. They also expect Andre Iguodala’s 3-ball to get better, in which case the need for another shooter is diminished.
It’s more likely, though, that the Warriors will do something to address a weakness that was present even before McCaw was hurt.