Warriors

Five free agents Warriors can target with taxpayer mid-level

Warriors
Patty Mills

The Warriors decided to go with the highest ceiling prospects available in the 2021 NBA Draft, selecting Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in the first round Thursday night.

For a team that has NBA championship aspirations, the two prospects are quite raw and will only be 19 years old during this upcoming 2021-22 NBA season. It will be hard to project any type of meaningful contribution from either player this year, so the Warriors will have to use the only resources at their disposal to add some veteran pieces that are ready to produce now for a title contender.

Being so far into the luxury tax, the Warriors will have to rely on the taxpayer mid-level exception, which hovers around $6 million, as well as veteran minimum contracts, to woo free agents to the squad.

In the past the Warriors were able to convince veterans like David West and Zaza Pachulia to take less money in order to have the opportunity to play for a title favorite. If the Warriors are going to have that same kind of luck again, here are some players that could fit their wishlist (in no particular order) should they be willing to give up dough and sign for the taxpayer mid-level exception:

Nicolas Batum

Rumor has it that the very versatile Batum was strongly considering joining the Warriors this last offseason before reports of Klay Thompson's injury surfaced. Batum eventually signed with the LA Clippers and revitalized his career, making 40 percent of his shots from deep and playing inspired basketball.

 

At 6-foot-8, Batum is a floor-spacing forward that can also handle the rock a little and create for others. Should he decide to accept less money then he could probably earn to join the Warriors, then the Dubs would be elated.

RELATED: Warriors tried hard to sign Batum last offseason

Warriors legend Chris Mullin joined the latest episode of Dubs Talk and made it crystal clear how he viewed a potential union.

"Huge thumbs up, I love Nicolas Batum," Mullin said.

Rudy Gay

Speaking of 6-foot-8 wings, Gay has been on the Warriors' radar for quite a few years. After his Achilles injury, he reinvented himself to be more of a spot up 3-point shooter, and his efficiency from long range has become a weapon for him.

Despite the injury and turning 35 years old soon, Gay still possesses some of his past athleticism and is a skilled scorer from every part of the floor. 

"I love Rudy Gay," Mullin said on Dubs Talk. "I worked with him in Sacramento, he's the ultimate pro. Played in San Antonio, I think he would be a good addition."

But would Gay want to come to the Warriors on less?

"If I got him to play in Sacramento, I could get him to play in Golden State," Mullin said with a laugh.

Patty Mills

The Warriors could definitely use some veteran help in their backcourt, so why not try for the sweet shooting, high energy Aussie that went to college in the Bay Area at St. Mary's?

Mills has tormented the Dubs for years, so they are no stranger to what he brings to the court. He's a career 39 percent shooter from deep, and is constantly on the move, hopping over screens and making the defense scramble. As part of the Spurs system for so many years, Mills also should be quite familiar with the free flowing offense of the Warriors.

"Could you imagine Draymond at the point, with Steph, Klay and Mills running off screens?" Mullin said on Dubs Talk. "I mean, it would be like the 680 freeway at rush hour. It would be incredible."

Paul Millsap

Playing at 35 years old last season, Millsap finally started to show some signs of slight regression. Which also coincidentally might be the only reason he could possibly fall into the Warriors price range.

The 6-foot-7 power forward became an elite 3-point shooter a couple seasons ago, shooting 44 percent from deep, but those numbers plummeted last season to 34 percent. 

If he can raise that percentage to somewhere in the middle of that range, Millsap can still be a very valuable piece for the Warriors on the court, as well as bring his veteran leadership off the court.

RELATED: Five veteran free agents Warriors could target

Otto Porter Jr.

Reports have recently stated that Porter Jr. could be in search of a deal in the mid-level exception range, and if the Warriors are looking for a reclamation project, he could be the exact guy they need.

The 6-foot-8 forward is a career 40 percent shooter from deep and can play high level defense from the wing position as well. His steep fall off last season is a little alarming, but many have compared his production to the high priced contract he just finished, which clearly was not up to par.

 

The Warriors reportedly were interested in Porter Jr. when his name surfaced in the buyout market last season, and it goes without saying they need wing help that can space the floor. If Porter Jr. can return to the form he has shown in years past, he would be a steal for the Dubs with the taxpayer mid-level exception.

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