As the Warriors wade into the final 10 days of the regular season, the front office is scanning its big board of available players, hoping to find someone capable of lending a hand to a team in need.
Like, for example, ex-Warriors big man Jordan Bell.
Why consider Bell, whose immaturity prompted the Warriors to let him walk in 2019? Three reasons. One, he’s a forward-center that spent two seasons playing with Stephen Curry and with Draymond Green and knows the system; Two, Bell is available after a 10-day contract with the Wizards expired last week; and three, he’d be easy on the bloated payroll.
But the window shopping goes deeper than a single player. The Warriors have two open roster spots, and Bell is among those on the list of possible additions. Coach Steve Kerr is down to an eight-man rotation but on Thursday acknowledged a desire for more.
“We’re looking into that right now, as we speak,” Kerr said prior to tipoff against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chase Center. “We’re hoping that Eric (Paschall) is back soon. That gives us size and athleticism when he returns.
“All we’re doing right now is trying to give ourselves the best chance to win. If that means playing eight, then we play eight. But it’s not something that we want to do for a long period of time. Our guys could use a little help out there.”
At least one player is expected to be added, perhaps as soon as Friday, league sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.
Green, the best “big” on the available roster, is fighting several aches while starting at power forward and filling in at backup center. The second-best, Kevon Looney, ideally plays 18-22 minutes off the bench but out of necessity has been pushed into the starting lineup and is averaging 26.8 minutes over the last 13 games.
Paschall, another option at small-ball center, has missed five weeks with hip soreness but could return in the coming days.
The Warriors are coming off a 2-2 road trip during which deficiencies related to their thin roster were exposed. They couldn’t finish in Minnesota and couldn’t hang on in the second of two games at New Orleans.
“We’re in full-prep mode for the play-in tournament and the playoffs,” Kerr said. “That means we’ve got to be really sharp.”
With six games remaining, the Warriors took the floor Thursday in ninth place in the Western Conference but longing to climb to seventh or eighth. They were a half-game behind eighth-place Memphis but a full four games behind seventh-place Portland.
Despite the short roster, the Warriors likely will sweep two games against Oklahoma City, which has lost 18 of 19 and is in the embryonic of rebuilding. But then come Utah and Phoenix, the top two teams in the West, followed by play-in hopefuls New Orleans and Memphis.
So, yes, the Warriors need help if they want to have any reasonable chance of rising in the standings.