Seven NBA free agents Warriors could pursue on minimum-salary contract


Seven NBA free agents Warriors could pursue on minimum-salary contract

The Warriors wrapped up Day 2 of NBA free agency in fascinating fashion, agreeing to a three-year, $15 million contract with center Kevon Looney on Monday.

While the price was well worth it -- Looney was a key contributor during the Warriors' NBA Finals run this past season -- it left the team with just $12 million to fill out its roster. That's because D'Angelo Russell's reported four-year, $117 million agreement in the sign-and-trade with the Nets triggered a hard cap.

So, the Warriors, whose roster stands at just 11 players either under contract and reportedly in agreement, have just the veteran's minimum to entice free agents.

With that in mind, here are seven free agents the Warriors could pursue.

Tyson Chandler

The 18-year veteran center bolstered the Los Angeles Lakers' defense when he signed with his hometown team in the middle of the season, turning down an opportunity to join the Warriors, who had a battered frontcourt at the time.

While Chandler, 36, opted against Golden State after the Phoenix Suns waived him eight months ago, he'd be a welcomed addition to the Warriors' young frontcourt, and could provide a positive locker-room presence.

Kosta Koufos

Despite playing in just 42 games for the Kings last season, Koufas was a positive force in Sacramento's locker room. On the court, he's a starting-caliber big man who could help the Warriors' defensive shortcomings.

With Damian Jones and 18-year-old Alen Smailagic the only big men currently on the roster, 30-year-old Koufas could simultaneously mentor Golden State's frontcourt core while providing quality minutes at the right price.

Zaza Pachulia

Some Warriors fans might cringe at the notion, but Pachulia would enter the Warriors' locker room with instant credibility. He helped Golden State win back-to-back NBA championships while starting 127 games in his two-year stint.

Pachulia, 35, also has one attribute that most of the free-agent crop doesn't: He'd seamlessly fit into the Warriors' system.

Patrick McCaw

Last month during the NBA Finals, McCaw expressed some remorse over spurning the Warriors early in the season, saying he'd do things differently in his current state of mind.

After not signing a two-year, $5 million contract to stay in the Bay, McCaw bounced around the league, playing a brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers before signing with the Toronto Raptors. He averaged just 2.7 points in 13.2 minutes per regular-season game in Toronto, though, and that playing time dropped to just 4.4 minutes per game in the playoffs.

Still, McCaw knows coach Steve Kerr's system, and the 23-year-old can provide defense, along with a chip on his shoulder, at a reasonable price. The only question: Would the Warriors take him back after all that's happened?

Greg Monroe

Monroe is just 29, but he's years removed from his days as a dominant force in Detroit. However, he showed signs of promise this past season, averaging 13.7 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 65.2 percent from the field in the 76ers' last three regular-season games. He also played in 10 playoff games for Philadelphia in a limited role.

With the Warriors' backcourt responsible for much of the scoring burden, Monroe could provide a veteran inside presence at a low price.

Wilson Chandler

Alfonzo McKinnie is the only small forward currently on the Warriors' roster, so Chandler could help spell some minutes. The 32-year-old averaged 6 points in 51 games between the 76ers and the Clippers last season, shooting 37.3 percent from 3-point range.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the season that the team will look to develop a younger roster. With Chandler in the fold, Golden State could accomplish that mandate while having a capable veteran help with the process.


The 7-foot Brazilian declined his $3.8 million player option with the Rockets on Sunday, giving the free-agent market a 17-year veteran big man.

Nene averaged 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a backup center last season, but with the Warriors' young frontcourt, he'd surely provide a positive locker-room presence on a team that could use it.

Alfonzo McKinnie wants to stay but is prepared if Warriors tenure ends

Alfonzo McKinnie wants to stay but is prepared if Warriors tenure ends

SAN FRANCISCO -- Fairy tales indeed can come true, as one did last autumn for Alfonzo McKinnie. After four years hopscotching the world in pursuit of an NBA career, he landed on the roster of the defending champion Warriors.

Life was great. His work and perseverance had paid off. Two years after scrapping by in makeshift gyms in Luxembourg and Mexico, he was teammates with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. McKinnie bought a house for his mother and still had money in his pocket.

One year later, the 6-foot-8 forward is discovering that fairy tales don’t always stay true.

There is a reasonable chance the status McKinnie earned one year ago will go to someone else.

The Warriors acknowledge a need for size, and Marquese Chriss, the 6-10 forward/center who signed a non-guaranteed contract two weeks ago, has impressed players and coaches with his work ethic, adaptability and cognition.

“Marquese is doing great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Sunday. “He’s probably been the surprise of camp, given that he came in late on a non-guaranteed, one-year contract.”

The Warriors cannot upgrade Chriss’ contract and add him to the roster unless someone else is waived or traded. The simplest sacrifice is McKinnie, whose contract is not fully guaranteed until January. None of the free-agent acquisitions are eligible for trade, and the Warriors won’t be moving second-year guard Jacob Evans III or any of their three rookies.

McKinnie is a 27-year-old reserve, making him a trade candidate.

“I hear it, but I try not to pay attention to it,” McKinnie told NBC Sports Bay Area. “All I can do is just come out, put my work in and perform. Whatever happens from there, that’s out of my control. I can only control what I do and how hard I go. Everything outside of that, it’s front-office business. I can’t control what goes on up there.”

With two centers on the sideline -- Willie Cauley-Stein (mid-foot sprain) and Kevon Looney (hamstring) --  Warriors general manager Bob Myers is seeking a way to add Chriss, a 2016 lottery pick (No. 8 overall) by the Kings.

The need for a big man and the way Chriss is playing -- he’ll make his second consecutive start Monday night against the Lakers in Los Angeles -– imperils McKinnie’s hold on his roster spot.

“We did have a lot of injuries to the bigs, so we definitely need some bigs,” McKinnie conceded. “Outside of the ones that are hurt, we’re a little smaller than a lot of teams.

“But I’m coming in here every day and competing. Whether you’re guaranteed or non-guaranteed, unless you’re totally solidified, you’ve always got to compete, whether it’s for a job or a spot or more minutes. Competition is always first nature.”

In 37 preseason minutes, McKinnie has been less than dazzling, scoring nine points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, including 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. He has grabbed 13 rebounds, as well as contributed three assists and two blocks.

“I know where I’ve been,” he said. “With this basketball thing, I’ve been at the bottom of the totem pole. Being here, with this organization, experiencing what I experienced last year, having a role on a championship-contending team, this is the highest I’ve been. I’m really self-motivated, because I know where I’ve been, and I know what it’s like to be at the bottom.

“I want to stay here. And continue to be here for years to come.”

Kerr expressed relief that he is coaching instead of facing the decisions looming before Myers.

“These guys are all working hard,” Kerr said. “And you know it’s their dream to play in this league. You wish you could keep everybody. But the nature of camp is generally that you’ve got to release four or five people, and it’s no fun at all.”

If the Warriors decide to keep McKinnie, it will be out of familiarity with the system and culture, as well as his rebounding ability.

If they decide to move him and cut him, it will be out of a greater need elsewhere on the roster.

Either way, McKinnie has a clear-eyed view.

“I definitely feel like I’m a mentally strong person,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot, on and off the court. When it comes to basketball, it’s for a job. People go through much tougher times. I’ve seen people go through [stuff] way harder than getting cut from a basketball team.”

[RELATED: Warriors reportedly push Myers to keep Chriss]

That’s the voice of McKinnie past, when there were nights when he barely knew the name of the city where he would lay his head. When he barely knew his teammates, some of whom had full-time day jobs.

No matter how this turns out, McKinnie is prepared. He’ll continue to live the fairy tale. Or he’ll remember the lessons of survival when the fairy tale went no further than his imagination.

Eric Paschall fitting in with Warriors, making good early impression

Eric Paschall fitting in with Warriors, making good early impression

SAN FRANCISCO -- Four months ago, the Warriors had a pretty good idea they wanted to select Eric Paschall with one of their two second-round draft picks.

Following a four-year college career, Paschall -- though listed at 6-foot-7 -- impressed with his athleticism, defensive prowess and basketball IQ. Only one question remained: Would he fall to the 41st overall pick?

"We were kind of holding our breath," Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted Sunday. "Hoping for him to fall, and it happened. We're lucky to have him."

As the Warriors get through training camp, Paschall is beginning to make good on Golden State's trust. Through two preseason games, he's averaging 11 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes. More importantly, with big men Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley Stein injured, Paschall has been tasked to guard multiple positions on defense, often the opponent's best player, and impressed the staff along the way.

"Really excited about Eric," Kerr said. "The strength, the explosiveness. He may be undersized from a height standpoint, but he's got long arms, so he makes up for some of that. To me, he fits right in, maybe even stands out on an NBA floor athletically from a strength and explosion standpoint."

Six months ago, Paschall -- who signed a three-year, fully guaranteed $4.2 million deal, in July -- was competing for a third straight Final Four appearance with Villanova, playing against zone defenses and the structure of college basketball. When he entered his first preseason game last Saturday, Kerr tasked him to guard All-NBA big man Anthony Davis.

In the second quarter of last week's Warriors loss to the Lakers, LeBron James took a pass at half court, dribbled three times and barreled into Paschall's chest for an easy layup, emphasizing the rookie's steep learning curve. 

"It's kind of weird because you see these guys, AD is on the cover of [NBA 2K] and my first game I have to guard him," Paschall said. "It's kind of crazy, but I'm glad Coach trusts me enough to go out and guard those guys."

An adjustment has manifested off the court as well for Paschall. Long a resident of the East Coast, he wasn't much of a driver and still doesn't have a license, despite being 22 years old. Following practice Sunday afternoon, Paschall stood outside Chase Center with a bag packed for a week-long trip, waiting for fellow rookie Jordan Poole to take him to San Francisco International Airport for the team's trip to Los Angeles. 

While Paschall has impressed thus far, his NBA dreams weren't always a sure thing. Despite averaging 26.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as a junior at Dobbs Ferry High School (NY), Paschall only garnered interests from mid-major schools like Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason and Providence before enrolling at nearby Fordham. After transferring to Villanova following a coaching change, Paschall won a national title in 2018, but he was just a second-round pick in June's NBA draft.

"My whole life, I've been underrated," Paschall told NBC Sports Bay Area. "To be able to be here is a blessing in itself."

Entering the season, Paschall comes to an organization in transition. Three months removed from Kevin Durant's departure, coupled with the Klay Thompson's knee injury, the Warriors are left to navigate the start of the season with eight new additions. Nonetheless, the team has established stars like Draymond Green and Stephen Curry, who have defined roles.

As his tenure progresses, Paschall hopes to be added to the Golden State's lineup of stars.

[RELATED: McKinnie prepared for end with Warriors]

"Eventually, I feel like I can come into my own at this level," Paschall said. "But now, especially as a rookie, you just have to do what they say and do what you got to do to stay on the court, but I feel like eventually in this league, I'll be able to play my game, and I hope it's with the Warriors." 

"I feel like I ended up being in a great spot," Paschall added. "They gave me a great contract, and I feel like in these next few years, I feel like I can contribute, to try to do what I can to just bring whatever they want me to bring to the table."