The Warriors are unlikely to sign a free-agent center amid a worsening injury crisis, but a wrinkle in the NBA's coronavirus health and safety protocols could allow Golden State to bring in much sooner than initially thought.
The NBA and two teams confirmed to Tom Haberstroh, writing for TrueHoop, that free agents who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days only require a two-day quarantine. Any free agents who haven't tested positive during that time need six consecutive negative COVID-19 tests.
Small-ball center Eric Paschall (knee soreness) joined true centers James Wiseman (sprained wrist), Kevon Looney (sprained ankle) and Marquese Chriss (broken leg, likely out for the season) on the injury report ahead of Thursday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. Wiseman and Looney's injury timelines, combined with needing to cut Mychal Mulder or 2019 second-round pick Alen Smailagic to free up a roster spot, likely would preclude signing a free-agent big who hasn't tested positive for COVID-19.
The good news for the Warriors is that they could get some help quicker than expected. The bad news is that they will have to find someone who fits the bill.
It's not clear which free-agent big men have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, and signing someone who has recovered from the coronavirus carries its own set of risks. As Haberstroh noted, multiple NBA players have struggled to recover and "some small studies have found worrying evidence about the long-term effects" for young people in peak physical shape.
Whether that deters the Warriors from adding depth to their frontcourt remains to be seen.