Warriors

When Warriors must decide on Smailagic, D-Lee contract options

Warriors
Warriors' Damion Lee

Outside of the eventual return of Klay Thompson, the Warriors' starting lineup next season should look pretty similar to the group coach Steve Kerr trotted out this year. But the Warriors' bench could look significantly different next season, and the front office has until August to make some decisions on several of this year's reserves, as ESPN's Bobby Marks broke down.

Alen Smailagic, whom the Warriors drafted in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft, will be guaranteed $1.8 million for next season unless he is waived by Aug. 6. The 20-year-old hasn't been able to crack the Warriors' rotation in the two seasons he has been with the team, appearing in just 29 NBA games.

Damion Lee also has a guarantee that locks in during August. However, Lee is much more likely to be retained, having averaged 18.9 minutes per game and proving to be a capable outside shooter and defender on the wing this past season.

Smailagic and Lee won't be the only Warriors reserves with guarantees Golden State must decide on this offseason.

Mychal Mulder -- who was one of the Warriors' top 3-point shooters this season -- will have his contract guaranteed next January, and could be waived at any time before the start of the season without a financial penalty for Golden State. Mulder averaged 5.6 points on 39.7 percent shooting from 3-point range in 60 games this season.

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Gary Payton II was given a two-year contract on the last day of the regular season after impressing the Warriors on a pair of 10-day deals. According to Marks, $659,000 of Payton II's $1.9 million salary becomes guaranteed on Aug. 11 unless he is released before then.

 

Kevon Looney has a decision of his own to make before Aug. 1, as he can opt into his $5.2 million salary for next season prior to then. Looney started 34 games for the Warriors this season, and proved to be one of the better defenders on the team.

With Klay Thompson and Steph Curry finally expected to be reunited on the court after two full seasons apart, the Warriors will need a strong bench to compete with the top teams in the Western Conference.

The Warriors likely will make some veteran additions to the bench this offseason, so it remains to be seen which of the above players remains on the roster by the start of the 2021-22 season.

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