Austin Rivers

NBA free agency 2019: 10 players Warriors could target to help next season

NBA free agency 2019: 10 players Warriors could target to help next season

NBA free agency is less than a week away, the Warriors find themselves under unique circumstances. 

Their top two free agent targets -- Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant -- will be rehabbing career-altering injuries that could keep them out all, not most of next season. 

If both re-sign, the Warriors will be well over the luxury tax, meaning they'll only have a tax payer's mid-level exception and veteran minimum deals to hand out when free agency starts June 30.

Despite their salary-cap situation, some intriguing free agents could be had in Golden State's price range. To get you ready for free agency, here's a list of potential options for the Warriors. 


Austin Rivers: Rockets more talented than Warriors minus Kevin Durant

Austin Rivers: Rockets more talented than Warriors minus Kevin Durant

Give Austin Rivers credit, he didn't hide how he felt Friday on ESPN's "First Take."

When discussing the Rockets' loss to the Warriors in the second round of the NBA playoffs, Houston's guard admitted his team thought the Dubs would "fold" once Kevin Durant went down with a strained calf in Game 5. He also gave Golden State credit for battling in Game 6 and doing whatever it took to eliminate the Rockets.

He also said something that might raise some eyebrows in the Bay Area. 

"You look at a team that is based out of mostly one-on-one," Rivers said. "And then we're playing against a team who's the best ball-movement team possibly ever, that's a bad matchup. Because talent-wise, if you look at (the Warriors' roster) and ours -- with KD out, it's not even close. Their bench is nowhere near the talent that we had."

Uh ... what now?

Even with Durant out with a strained right calf, the Warriors still boasted two of the best shooters in NBA history, a possible future Hall of Famer in Andre Iguodala and one of the best defenders in league history in Draymond Green. The Rockets were no doubt a talented team in their own right, but a bench unit consisting of Rivers, Iman Shumpert, Nene, Gerald Green and Danuel House Jr., doesn't exactly tip the scales in their favor.

To Rivers' point, the Warriors' bench, other than Kevon Looney, was rendered basically unplayable in the series against the Rockets until Game 6, when everyone from Looney to Jordan Bell played a role in the win. On the other end of the spectrum, Mike D'Antoni was forced to shorten his rotation to basically eight players in Game 6, with Nene seeing only nine minutes of action in the deciding game and House being relegated to cheerleader.

[RELATED: NBA Finals outcome reportedly could affect KD's free-agency decision]

The Rockets had their chance to beat the Warriors, and they whiffed. But were they more talented? Rivers knows the (real) answer.

Rockets' Austin Rivers explains most impressive thing about Warriors

Rockets' Austin Rivers explains most impressive thing about Warriors

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Rockets guard Austin Rivers did not play in Game 1 of the Golden State-Houston Western Conference Semifinals because of an illness.

He returned for Game 2, and although the Rockets lost, Rivers scored 14 points and was a team-best plus-10 in 24 minutes.

After practice on Friday, the 10th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft was extremely complimentary of the Warriors.

"I think this series comes down to effort," he told reporters. "People want to talk about how talented the Warriors are, and rightfully so, when they have multiple All-Stars. But you get so lost in how talented they are and their schemes and threes that people really don't understand that if you actually watch that team play -- watch how hard they run their sets, watch how hard they defend.

"They don't take any plays off. That's a team that's won three of the last four years and they're still playing like they've never won. That's the most impressive thing about Golden State.

"And I don't know who that is, if that's leadership from Steph (Curry) or Draymond (Green) or Steve Kerr. But they play extremely hard. You cannot not play as hard as them because they're going to be more talented than you 10 out of 10 times.

"There's not a starting lineup in the league that has what they have, so you have to play harder, otherwise you stand no chance."

Everything that Rivers said is truly spot on. He sounded like a coach -- his father is Doc Rivers -- as he delivered the message.

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But you can't fool us, Austin, as we know exactly what you're doing. You want the Warriors to hear your comments so they let their guard down and think the series is already over.

You want the Dubs to enter Saturday's Game 3 without the necessary amount of "appropriate fear." If you tell the media that the Warriors were lucky to win Games 1 and 2 and declare the Rockets a better team, then Golden State will use that as motivation.

Very slick. Nice try, Austin!

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