What will be an abnormally long offseason for the Warriors officially has begun. Their 2019-20 season is over, and the next one isn't expected to begin until December at the earliest.
It's a critical offseason for Golden State, as the team hopes to establish the 2019-20 campaign as an outlier. There will be a series of important events the Warriors must capitalize on to get back to championship contention, including a potential extended mini-camp, the 2020 NBA Draft and free agency.
The draft will be held on Oct. 15, though Golden State will learn where exactly its first-round selection falls when the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is held in late August. Three days after the draft, free agency will begin.
The Warriors theoretically have the ability to add multiple standout performers this offseason, but their best avenues to do so likely will be through the draft and trades. When it comes to free agency, they'll be financially limited.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins will count for approximately $130 million against the salary cap next season. Though the cap was once projected to be around $115 million, it's expected to be significantly reduced as a result of the lost revenue due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. So, Golden State is all but certain to be a tax-paying team.
As such, the Warriors will have the tax-payer mid-level exception -- worth approximately $6 million -- at their disposal. Typically, that wouldn't be enough to attract a high-quality free agent, but the unusual circumstances of the offseason could result in some surprising developments. There are very few teams with ample cap space, meaning many free agents likely will have to sign for less money than they would have, say, a year ago.
Since Joe Lacob and Peter bought the team in 2012, the Warriors have never been shy about pursuing big names. Bleacher Report's Dan Favale has identified ambitious free-agent targets for all 30 NBA teams, and his recommendation for the Warriors -- Raptors center Marc Gasol -- would continue that pattern.
"Marc Gasol is a when-in-Rome target for the Golden State Warriors," Favale wrote. "They're better off investing in their wing rotation, but if they can get him for the mini mid-level exception, why not? Their center rotation has room."
With the Warriors preferring to limit Green's center minutes, Kevon Looney's health concerns and Marquese Chriss still being somewhat unestablished, Favale argues Gasol would be an ideal option to pair with Golden State's incumbent big men. He is far larger than each of them, an above-average two-way player and would add even more championship experience to the squad. At the time the current season was paused, Gasol was averaging 7.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Raptors on 41.9 percent shooting from the field and an impressive 40.2 percent shooting from 3-point range.
It isn't difficult to envision how he would fit into the Warriors' offense.
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Signing him, however, likely will prove to be far more challenging. Gasol likely will be in high demand this offseason, given both his reputation and the free-agency landscape. While he might view the Warriors as contenders, there are several other teams who might qualify for that category who potentially offer him a better contract. That includes the Raptors, who he won a title with -- against Golden State -- just over one year ago.
That said, Gasol should be one of the Warriors' first calls as soon as free agency opens. As Favale wrote, "it never hurts to ask."
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