Welcome to the holding period.
When a player the caliber of Kevin Durant becomes available in a trade, the entire league effectively goes on hold.
That applies to the top-end and bottom-end of league business.
The Warriors might be able to offer the best trade to the Nets for Durant, but their business this offseason has been decidedly bottom-end. They have the championship team. Now they’re trying to fill out their roster — on the cheap.
The Warriors are well over the salary cap and deep into the luxury tax, meaning their free-agent options almost exclusively reside in the “minimum contract” camp.
It’s a challenge, but not one the Warriors have not overcome in the past. David West, Demarcus Cousins, and, last season, Otto Porter were all signed to league-minimum deals.
Call them ring-chasers, reputation-revivers, or cheap labor (relatively, of course); the Warriors need to add at least one, perhaps two players to their roster before the start of training camp in October, and they can’t spend much.
Here’s where their 15-man roster currently stands:
1: Steph Curry // Jordan Poole // Ryan Rollins
2: Klay Thompson // Donte DiVincenzo
3: Andrew Wiggins // Moses Moody // Quinndary Weatherspoon
4: Draymond Green // Jonathan Kuminga // Patrick Baldwin
5: Kevon Looney // James Wiseman
And here are nine targets (you need to cast a wide net when you can’t pay more than the minimum) to fill out that roster.
» This is the Otto Porter play. Warren, who was all-world in the NBA’s pandemic bubble, has only played four games in two years because of consecutive stress fractures in his left foot.
That’s a tough injury to overcome, but Golden State could give him a legitimate chance to do that, much like Porter (28 games played in 2020-2021, foot injury) did this past season, netting a two-year, $12.4 million contract with the Raptors last week.
Warren is 28, and he can get buckets in bunches when healthy. He’ll have plenty of teams willing to roll the dice with him, especially at the minimum. The Warriors can point to Dr. Rick Celebrini’s work with the Warriors’ veterans, especially this past year, as a reason why Warren should come to San Francisco.
Even 15 games of a full-fledged Warren, plus playoffs, would be worth the luxury-tax implications. You can never have too many bucket-getters.
» The Warriors great said before this season that he would hang it up at the end of the campaign — he can go out on top. But there’s no guarantee that will happen. Iguodala struggled with injuries all year — we barely saw him for the final months of the season, including playoffs — but his impact on the team was still felt because he took on a de-facto coaching role while sidelined.
Much like Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who barely plays but is kept around as a kind of “player emeritus” the Warriors can re-sign Iguodala, not because of his on-court prowess but his overall team impact.
» Last October, the Warriors had to choose between Gary Payton II and Avery Bradley for the team’s last roster spot. The Dubs’ front office correctly chose Payton, despite Steph Curry and Draymond Green both campaigning for the veteran Bradley, who will be 32 this upcoming season.
With Payton moving to Portland, the Warriors can once again try Bradley, an aggressive perimeter defender who shot better this past season with the Lakers than expected.
» One has to wonder what Lamb — a willing and often capable 3-point shooter — could do in an offense that creates as many open catch-and-shoot looks like the Warriors’. Lamb would be a Damion Lee replacement — not an everyday player, but one of incredible value coming off the bench. You can never have too many 3-point shooters.
» The Warriors lack a bonafide, proven backup point guard — someone who can get the team into their sets when they’re in the half-court. Campazzo has plenty of weaknesses, including the inability to defend much of anyone, but he will, unquestionably, run point.
This is an insurance policy play.
» Ellington became a bit of a cult hero with the Lakers last year. How can you not like a classic 3-and-D player? Ok, just a 3.
But while he’s a sieve on the defensive side of the court, stick him in the corner and let him knock down shot after shot. In the last two seasons, he’s shot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc — all without taking a dribble, I believe.
» This roster is lacking in Curry family members following Lee’s departure.
Rivers can rectify that by signing with the Dubs. Rivers’ sister, Callie, is married to Seth Curry, Steph’s younger brother. That counts, right?
Rivers is also a solid wing option for the end of the bench. He’s been a 20-minute-per-game player his entire career, but a limit in scope and inclusion in the Warriors system could help simplify his game and unlock even better shooting (35 percent for his career beyond the arc.)
» Let’s first acknowledge that Harrell is currently facing felony drug charges for having three pounds of marijuana in his rental car in Kentucky.
If that’s sorted by the time the season starts, he could prove exceptionally valuable on a minimum contract. He’s a smallball 5, yes, but he brings serious energy to the court as a rim-runner. The Dubs might have enough centers — don’t forget that Green and Kuminga will play there, too. But there would be value in having an ice-breaker at the position. The Warriors couldn’t help but play fast (their best pace) with Harrell on the court.
Two young dark horses
» He’s a prototypical wing — 6-foot-8 with lots of length on defense. At 21 years old, he was a 35-percent shooter from beyond the arc last year.
This would be a brilliant pick-up for the Warriors, and he’s technically available, as the Nets rescinded his qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
That said, he is slated to play for the Nets in Summer League, and Brooklyn has some non-bird rights. They’re reportedly trying to re-sign him. We’ll see if those plans stick, given all that’s happening with the Nets.
» The thunder have too many draft picks and too many players. Roby is a nice player, but at 24, he’s probably a bit old for OKC, so they waived him Sunday.
But he would be incredible on the Dubs. He’s more of a 4 than a 3, but at 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, he brings a bit of thump and a sweet shooting stroke from the outside. He knocked down 44 percent of his 3-pointers last year. An anomaly of a year? Probably, but it’s no fluke.
This guy can play. I doubt he signs for the minimum, but the Warriors need to put in a bid ASAP.
Contributed by local news sources