Warrior fans are still feeling the pangs of a season ending abruptly for all the wrong reasons.* And even as play on the hardwood has scarcely ceased, the next NBA season has already begun. For the Warriors, it began with them drafting a promising trio of rookies. But realistically, these guys won’t contribute immediately. No, it’s this free agency season (opens Sunday, June 30th) that will chart the Dubs path for the next few years. Luckily, no matter what happens, in Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry, the Dubs have a seasoned championship core.**
Here’s what we should expect in free agency.
1) GM Bob Myers offers KD and Klay max contracts.
Klay stays, pretty much making him a Warrior for life.
Kevin Durant is an enigma. He could’ve said that he feels winning four or five chips will do more for his legacy than anything else a long time ago. So, what’s left is a feeling that indeed, he values something else. We will always be grateful for the two championships. If KD’s decision is to leave, Myers will try to do a sign and trade; where KD gets paid the max possible and the Warriors get either a trade exception and a player or draft pick, but this all comes down to KD.
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Love and blessings from the town. This team brought so many opportunities and community transformations to the bay. Before Monta Ellis and Baron Davis. Before J Rich and Matt Barnes. The long drought, the last place team for years. And now we got used to winning. Appreciation. 🙏🏽 @warriors. . Located at 43rd x Telegraph in Temescal Oakland. Catch a flick before it’s gone. . 🎨 @emagn1 @flavorinnovator @kruptdotcom. Wall provided by @bukueone @stevenandersonart.
2) After the “Big Two”, which Warriors stay with the team.
Pay day for Kevon Looney. It’s going to take at least $5 million a year. He’s improving and young. How many other Warriors can you say that about?
There’s sure to be a team that will offer Demarcus Cousins more than the Warriors. So, it’s likely that he won’t return. But there are two reasons Cousins might want to stay: a) He’d be the 2nd option on the team for the majority of the upcoming season. b) If KD were to leave, Demarcus could become a viable longer-term consideration.
For Quinn Cook, if Shaun retires, and the mid-level contract doesn’t go to a guard, Bob Myers will likely bring Cook back for the continuity he brings, his steady play, and shooting ability.
Jordan Bell? Too much potential to not bring back. I’d like to see him play small forward in a big lineup.
Alfonzo McKinnie? Please guarantee him for the 2nd year.
3) So, that leaves free agency outside the team to fill out the roster.
The need is to find one or two veteran Shooting Guards or Small Forwards. Myers should look for proven players like Danny Green or Patrick Beverly with the mid-level exception. But dividing the mid-level might allow the Warriors to sign two free-agents who fill their needs: Austin Rivers, Seth Curry, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Bullock, Emmanuel Mudiay, Justin Holiday, James Ennis, George Hill, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson or Trevor Ariza.
Hopefully the Warriors can attract one or two of these guys to fill out the next year’s roster.
We’ve been living in a golden era for the Warriors. Now this is the first time we’ll get to test if we’re really light years ahead of the rest of the league or not. If the Warriors are able to stay on top, Chase Center will be a big reason why it’s financially possible.
“Dynasties have come and gone in the NBA. Few have faced the potent cocktail of free agency, new contenders, and crippling injuries quite like the Warriors do right now. But as long as they have Curry, (Draymond) Green and Thompson the Warriors have a proven championship core. Having witnessed the last five years of this historic run, it’d be foolish to write them off entirely.” – Patrick Murray, Forbes
* Charting the injuries that turned the NBA Finals against the Warriors
* In Game 2 against the Clippers, Demarcus (Cousins) tore his thigh muscle.
* In Game 5 against Houston, KD left the game with a strained calf muscle. Out until Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
* In Game 3 against Portland, Iggy left the game with lower leg soreness and missed Game 4.
* In Game 2 of the finals against Toronto, Klay left the game with a strained hamstring and missed Game 3.
* In Game 2 of the finals, Kevon Looney left the game with fractured cartilage near his collar bone and missed Game 3.
* In Game 5 of the finals, KD’s first game back, he suffered a ruptured achilles.
* In Game 6 of the finals, Klay tore the achilles in his knee.
** How the Warriors made it to the finals?
Near the end of Game 5 in the series against Houston, the Warriors faced a near death experience. What had been a problem in the Clippers series returned (the inability to hold a big lead). With the series was tied 2-2, a big lead slipping away, and KD injured, the season was on the line. And the Warriors responded with a brand of basketball that exposed the Rockets, and then in the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers. Draymond pushing the ball and everybody else moving – cuts & dives to the rim and pick + pop was enough for six straight wins.