3 best players the Warriors must sign in 2021 NBA free agency
All eyes are on the Golden State Warriors and the moves they will be making this offseason. The Warriors reportedly looked into trading their two lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, but they ultimately stood pat and selected Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Kuminga is seen as a raw project who probably won’t be able to contribute right away, while Moody, despite being dubbed as an NBA-ready player, is still a 19-year-old. With an aging trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green still capable of leading a team to the promised land, the Dubs are in a complicated situation.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob essentially ruled out the possibility of a blockbuster trade that would bring more immediate help to the Bay Area. The Warriors will now look to free agency to add more veterans to a relatively young Warriors supporting cast to the Big Three. This upcoming week will undoubtedly be a critical time for Dub Nation.
With that, here are the three best players the Warriors must target in free agency. Remember, they only have the $5.9 million taxpayer mid-level exception and minimums to offer.
1. Nicolas Batum
Nicolas Batum is arguably the top player who should be on Golden State’s wish list. Even though they fortified their wing depth with their two picks in the draft, the Warriors still need a veteran who can play pressure-packed minutes in the postseason. The Frenchman had a resurgence with the Los Angeles Clippers this past season and played a huge role for them in the playoffs.
The addition of Batum would give the Dubs a multi-dimensional wing who can play and defend multiple positions. He could play the 3 in big lineups and serve as the power forward when the Warriors put Draymond Green at the 5.
Batum is also capable of creating for others and almost always makes the right play. His high basketball IQ fits perfectly for Golden State’s movement-heavy system. The 32-year-old served mostly as a spot-up shooter for the Clippers, making 40.4 percent of his 3-pointers. The Warriors would definitely welcome a more consistent sniper to give more 3-point shooting threats around Stephen Curry.
The Warriors reportedly tried to go after Batum after the Charlotte Hornets bought him out last season. But due to Klay Thompson’s injury, they were unable to persuade the 6-foot-8 forward to come aboard. Golden State should go hard for the savvy veteran once again and hope they are finally able to land him this time around.
2. Patty Mills
One of Golden State’s needs is a veteran backup point guard for Stephen Curry. The Brad Wanamaker experiment did not go too well last season. Thus, the Dubs should be more aggressive in filling in this role this season. San Antonio Spurs free agent Patty Mills fits the bill well.
Patty Mills is absolutely balling out in the Olympics for Australia. With his strong showing, the 32-year-old should be a prime free agency target for many title hopefuls. Thus, the Dubs will need to be creative in persuading the Australian to come bring his talents to the squad.
Mills, a career 38.8 percent 3-point shooter, is an absolute sniper from downtown. He has averaged 10.3 points per game over the last five seasons and would give Golden State an added offensive option off the bench. Mills doesn’t handle the ball too much, but instead, works best by lurking around the perimeter and coming off screens for open triples. With Golden State running a lot of off-ball actions, it’s easy to see how Mills would thrive in a Warriors uniform.
3. Rudy Gay
Another San Antonio Spurs player the Warriors can target is Rudy Gay. The 15-year journeyman also saw his name pop up as one of Golden State’s options for its traded player exception last season and could see the same when free agency hits on Aug. 2.
If the Warriors are unable to land Nic Batum, Gay should be their backup option as their veteran wing signee. The Dubs sorely need more scoring options to help ease the load off Stephen Curry. Golden State was absolutely atrocious whenever Curry went to the bench last season. Gay, along with the emergence of Jordan Poole, should help them in that regard should they bring him in this summer.
Gay was once a 20-points-per-game scorer in this league and has averaged 11.9 points on 46.2 percent shooting mostly in a reserve role in four years with the Spurs. At 35 years old, he may be a little up there in age. Nonetheless, Gay has shown that he is still capable of filling up the score sheet from time to time. He has been up and down in terms of his 3-point shooting throughout his career, but did knock down 38.1 percent last season.