Sure, the NBA playoffs are in full swing. But with the Warriors watching in the comfort of their homes, that means their offseason has begun, for all intents and purposes. Yes, that signals the start of free agent, draft and trade speculation.
Let's start with a look at some potential free agent options for the Warriors. Like it has been for quite a few years now, they enter the market with very limited resources to acquire new players. In fact, their only options to bring in veteran free agents are through the taxpayer mid-level exception, which should be just under $6 million (less than the standard mid-level exception which will be about $9.5 million), and veteran minimum contracts.
Here's a list of 12 potential unrestricted free agents that will assuredly at least pique the interest of the Warriors:
If they are willing to take less money
- Paul Millsap
- PJ Tucker
- Danny Green
- Patty Mills
There is nothing like veterans that have been through some hard-fought NBA playoff runs to help a young Warriors team regain their footing. All four of these players will probably be in demand, and can likely earn a little more money than the Warriors can pay next season.
However, should one fall through the cracks, or decide that they want to take less to play a vital role in re-establishing the Warriors as a contender, then the team would be better for it.
All four not only bring veteran experience and mettle, they also provide spacing with 3-point shooting (each in their own unique way). The Warriors are very familiar with all of these players and how they can affect a playoff series, and most importantly, they have meshed with teams that have played similar styles to Golden State at some point in their careers.
Hard to gauge their price
- Nicolas Batum
- Torrey Craig
- Otto Porter Jr.
Rumors have it that Batum was a finalist to sign with the Warriors last offseason, but eventually settled on the LA Clippers to begin a new chapter in his career. He has made just under $150 million in his time in the NBA, so it is unknown how much salary will be a factor in his decision making.
If Batum wants to get paid as much as possible, then there will be avenues open for him to do so, as he shot over 40 percent from deep and played good all-around basketball for LA this season. If the Warriors can convince him to come on the taxpayer mid-level, or less, they would definitely improve their roster.
Craig is relatively unknown, but he has established himself in the NBA as a scrappy wing defender that is developing a 3-point shot. He will likely look to hit a payday, as he has been playing on minimum contracts for his career. But how teams around the league value him will be the determining factor if he is a viable option for the Warriors.
Porter Jr. is a player that is sort of an enigma. His talent is undeniable, but inconsistency has plagued his career. What makes his market confusing will be that he just finished a very lucrative contract, which he finished up with the Magic after a midseason trade. Will teams view him as a reclamation project that is available on the minimum, or do they feel like he is a mid-level type player that should bring at least standard value as a wing?
- JJ Redick
- Trevor Ariza
Speaking of highly experienced veterans that the Warriors know quite well, you won't find players that fit that category much better than Redick and Ariza. Both players are not who they used to be, so bringing in either would have to be on veteran minimum deals if the Warriors intend to really upgrade their roster through free agency and leave the mid-level exception open for more impactful players.
But should either feel like the Dubs are a spot where they can have fun and take on the challenge of raising the team back to glory, there could be a welcome match here.
Bringing back W’s?
- Kelly Oubre (Bird rights)
- Kent Bazemore
- Andre Iguodala ($15m club option)
Warriors fans had a love-hate relationship with Oubre and Bazemore throughout the 2020-21 season. Each can provide a lot of positives to the team, but they also make glaring mistakes every now and then that can cause even the casual fan to wince.
Bazemore should be an easy decision for the Warriors. If he is willing to return on a minimum contract, then he is a must-sign. While he ended up playing in a starting role by the end of the season, a guy like him is a perfect veteran bench piece that knows the system well, is beloved in the locker room and produces enough to help the team win. Sure, there are plays that leave you scratching your head, but at that price point, the Warriors are lucky if they can retain him. They might even consider dipping into the mid-level exception if the circumstances are right.
Oubre's return to the Warriors comes down to two major factors. First, his price point. He might simply be too expensive for the Warriors to bring him back and pay the exorbitant amount of luxury tax dollars, for a guy that will probably come off the bench. Because they have his bird rights, the Warriors can pay any amount to bring him back, which is necessary since he is expected to receive upwards of $15 million per season. And secondly, Oubre has to be willing to return to the Warriors in a bench role he might not love. Could there be a perfect situation where a sign-and-trade develops with him? Perhaps. But first and foremost, the Warriors and Oubre's camp will have to see how the market plays out for him, and that will determine quite a bit.
The fate of Iguodala is up in the air. The Heat could very well decide to pick up his club option for $15 million, and then use that as a trade chip for a valuable salary slot. In that case, the Warriors would be out of the running for his services. On the other hand, the Heat could decide to decline his option, which would allow the Warriors to pursue him and try to convince him to take a large pay cut to return to the area in which he still resides in the offseason. Iguodala would clearly be the perfect addition to the team, and if the circumstances play out the exact way the Warriors would like, they will absolutely push to bring him back.