Warriors

Eight centers Warriors could grab via buyout, trade or 10-day contract

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Eight centers Warriors could grab via buyout, trade or 10-day contract

The Warriors are thin in the frontcourt right now, with just Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell at center. It's also unclear when All-Star DeMarcus Cousins will return to game action, and even if he finally plays for Golden State and is effective, the team still would need another big body.

The Warriors have an open 15th roster spot (which has been by design all along) and can make something happen, should an opportunity arise.

"If something presented itself now or in the next few days, we’d look at it," Warriors GM Bob Myers told reporters on a conference call Monday. "More than likely, it’ll come later, maybe in the form of a buyout or trade.”

The NBA trade deadline isn't until Feb. 7, but a buyout could happen at any time, and teams can sign players to 10-day contracts starting Jan. 5. When the Warriors add another big man also might depend on how Cousins looks when he makes his debut, although there's no timeline for that.

For now, let's look at some of the big men who might interest the Warriors, in no particular order. Keep in mind that this is a very preliminary list, and I'm just an outsider with zero inside information ...

Robin Lopez

The Chicago Bulls center, who has been relegated to the bench in his 11th NBA season, has been mentioned by several publications as a perfect fit for the Warriors. He's making $14.4 million this season, though, so it's safe to assume they will not trade for the Stanford product (and my former teammate).

The only way the 7-footer would end up in the Bay Area is if he and the Bulls agree to a buyout. Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows Lopez well, as he drafted him 15th overall when he was the Phoenix Suns' GM in 2008.

Dewayne Dedmon

The 29-year old is averaging 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks this season, as he has started 17 games for the Atlanta Hawks and averaged 24.2 minutes per night. There has been zero indictation that a buyout is in the works, as he's making just $6.3 million this season, but Dedmon will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Hawks clearly are in tank mode.

Also, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk used to be the Warriors' assistant GM, so you never know ...

Zach Randolph

The 37-year-old hasn't appeared in a single game for the Kings this season. He's making $11.7 million, so like Lopez, only would be an option for the Warriors through a buyout. That's most likely at least five weeks away, as the Kings might be able to package Z-Bo in a trade.

Randolph, Cousins and Draymond Green on the same team would be, um, wild.

Skal Labissiere

Another Kings big man, the 22-year-old has seen action in just 10 games so far this season. The Kings picked up his 2019-20 option, so the Warriors might not want to pay him $2.3 million next season. But he's still young and showed some flashes in his first two NBA seasons, so perhaps he's worth a second-round draft pick in a trade?

Kosta Koufos

Yet another Kings big man! He's making too much money ($8.7 million) to acquire via trade, but if things go south for Sacramento, it might look to save some money with a buyout and let the 29-year old sign with a contender.

Amir Johnson

The 31-year old made just his second start of the season Saturday night in Portland, but only because Joel Embiid didn't suit up. Johnson is averaging just 9.4 minutes per game, but the 76ers probably won't part ways with him because they need him as Embiid insurance. He's making the veteran's minimum, which makes him more attainable.

Deyonta Davis

He plays for the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, and on Saturday night against the Northern Arizona Suns, he scored a season-high 21 points, to go with eight rebounds and two blocks. So, the Warriors easily could add him on a 10-day contract.

The 22-year old was selected 31st overall by the Boston Celtics in 2016, then quickly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, with whom he averaged 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 62 games last season. He was traded to the Kings in July, then waived in September.

Cameron Oliver

The 22-year-old was born in Oakland and went to Grant Union High School in Sacramento. He went undrafted in 2017 after two seasons at Nevada, and currently plays for the Delaware Blue Coats of the G League, for whom he's averaging 16.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while shooting just below 60 percent from the field.

It's surprising (or a red flag?) that Oliver isn't even on a two-way contract, so he'd basically be just a 10-day contract option for the Warriors.

Warriors vs. Pelicans watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

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Warriors vs. Pelicans watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

Sooner or later, the Warriors eventually would run into an opponent keeping doctors as busy as they are. That will be the case Sunday afternoon in New Orleans when they face Pelicans.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3 p.m. PT, with tipoff from Smoothie King Center scheduled for 4:10.

Even with an injury list that runs seven deep, the wounded Warriors (2-11) might not find a better opportunity to snap a losing streak that has reached six games. Their first win of the season was a 134-123 triumph on Oct. 28 at New Orleans.

The Pelicans (3-9) have seen their roster diminished by more than half, leaving them without at least three starters, as well as three more rotation players. Of their top 10 players, only point guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard E’twaun Moore are healthy.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F Eric Paschall
F Draymond Green
C Willie Cauley-Stein
G Glenn Robinson III
G Ky Bowman

Pelicans

F Kenrich Williams
F Nicolo Melli
C Jason Hayes
G E’twaun Moore
G Jrue Holiday

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain), G Damion Lee (right hand non-displaced fracture), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Alen Smailagic (right ankle sprain) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) are listed as out.

Pelicans: G Frank Jackson (left neck contusion) and G JJ Redick (left great toe sprain) are listed as questionable. F/C Derrick Favors (lower back spasms) and F Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness) are listed as doubtful. G Lonzo Ball (right Adductor strain), G Josh Hart (left knee/ankle sprain), F Darius Millier (right Achilles rehab), C/F Jahlil Okafor (left ankle sprain) and F Zion Williamson (right knee surgery rehab) are listed as out.

[RELATED: Dubs' Cauley-Stein explains origin of his mouthguard grills]

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: The Warriors are back to nine available players. ... Russell’s absence leaves them with Bowman as the only point guard on the roster, so he might play at least 35 minutes. As was the case against Boston on Friday, Green will assume many of the ball-handling duties. ... The Warriors scored a season-high 134 points in the Oct. 24 game, with six players scoring in double figures. Three of those players (Curry, Lee and Russell) are unavailable today. ... The Warriors outrebounded the Pelicans 61-41 in the previous game.

Pelicans: If every player on the injury list is ruled out before tipoff, the Pelicans will be down to eight available players. ... Under new vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, the Pelicans over the summer separated their training/medical staff from that which also serves the NFL's Saints. The hope was that their previous misfortune with injuries would abate. ... Though rookie center Jaxson Hayes has played in all 12 games, he has yet to make a start. That could change today. He totaled 19 points (9-of-11 FG) in 24 minutes against the Warriors on Oct. 24.

Officials: Ken Mauer (crew chief), Mark Lindsay, Leon Wood.

Warriors' Willie Cauley-Stein explains origin of his mouthguard grills

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Warriors' Willie Cauley-Stein explains origin of his mouthguard grills

When Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein smiles on the court, he puts the gold in Golden State. His teeth shine with customized mouthguards that look like grills. 

“I ain’t think it would look that good, but they looked real," Cauley-Stein described. "They fit real."

The grills are standard plastic mouthguards, embellished with extra bling created by a jeweler friend who makes specialized pieces for athletes. They’re molded in a tray, just like braces.

Cauley-Stein has been wearing a real grill since college. He keeps up the look at work with a collection of mouthguard grills in rose gold, white gold and crystal, with the crystal version marked with two X’s. 

The two X’s are for a friend who passed away this summer.

“His name is Rexx, two X’s, so I’m carrying that on,” Cauley-Stein explained. 

[RELATED: Slew of Warriors injuries hinders young core's development]

Cauley-Stein also has two X’s tattooed over his left eye. His skin is a canvas of tattoos that tell the story of his life. The gleam on his teeth gives him one more way to stand out. 

“A lotta people are like, ‘This dude doesn’t care about hoops, he’s got a freakin’ grill in his mouth!’ But it’s a mouthpiece!” he exclaimed.