It will be interesting to see how the Golden State Warriors front office, which proclaimed that they're light years ahead of the opposition, respond to some tough roster crunches in a bid to maximize the remaining elite years of Stephen Curry's illustrious career. Will they trade away Klay Thompson, who vanished in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers? Or will they send out Jordan Poole after a terrible end to his 2022-23 campaign?
At the very least, the Warriors will have plenty of possibilities to choose from when it comes to possible trades that could bring back an impact player that would allow them to contend for a championship next season. There may be no other direction for the Warriors to take anyway that could make as much of an impact, as their cap situation precludes them from even thinking about free agency as a means to pick up a game-changing presence.
As one would recall, the NBA and NBPA agreed upon a new collective bargaining agreement. The new CBA will then make it more difficult for the Warriors to bolster their roster via free agency, as they won't be able to use their taxpayer mid-level exception due to their status as a team with a player salary payroll above the second luxury tax apron.
Even then, it shouldn't be the end of the world for the Dubs. Stephen Curry's mere presence could attract a few quality veterans, and as the Warriors showed during the 2022 playoffs with the likes of Nemanja Bjelica, Otto Porter Jr., and Gary Payton II, they could pick up players who'd come up huge for them in the playoffs via the league minimum.
With that said, here are the three players the Warriors must target in free agency with their limited means.
For much of the 2022-23 season, the Warriors roster was crying out for another interior presence other than Kevon Looney. The Dubs may have had JaMychal Green, but Green is more of a perimeter-oriented player. Prior to the 2023 trade deadline, the Warriors were reportedly in talks regarding a potential trade for Jakob Poeltl, but they clearly were either outbid or found the San Antonio Spurs' asking price to be too prohibitive.
Acquiring a center who can score at an efficient clip at the paint would have been a huge boon for a Dubs team that doesn't exactly excel at putting pressure on the rim. Given how Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole's shooting tanked in the 2023 NBA playoffs, having a versatile scoring option at center would have been a huge boost.
Enter Thomas Bryant.
With Anthony Davis on the mend in the middle of the season, the Lakers turned to Thomas Bryant and he delivered with one double-double after another as he rounded back into his pre-injury form. Bryant, however, wanted a bigger role despite Davis' return, so the Lakers traded him away to the Denver Nuggets where he's now collecting dust at the end of the bench.
Bryant's disappointing Nuggets stint may allow the Dubs to sign him at cut-rate price. And the Dubs will be better off for it. With the glut of playmakers on the roster, Bryant's life on offense will be easy. With Draymond Green alongside him (should he re-sign), his defensive shortcomings won't be as glaring. And with his outside shooting, defenders won't be able to sag off him like they do with Kevon Looney.
Patrick Beverley is yet another Lakers outcast that could play a huge role off the bench for the Warriors this coming season, especially if the likes of Jordan Poole or Donte DiVincenzo depart from the team. Beverley gives the Warriors two instigators, which allows them to have the emotional and mental edge every night, and even at 34 years old, the defensive-minded guard who's made it a mission to hound his opponents relentlessly gives it his all on a nightly basis.
The Warriors have shown interest in acquiring Beverley in the past, as the veteran guard revealed that he almost signed with them before deciding to suit up for his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls, in February.
Now this is an out of left field shout. Justise Winslow hasn't developed into the star many thought he'd be back in 2015, as he's had to deal with a plethora of injury woes throughout his career. In this past season alone with the Portland Trail Blazers, Winslow played in just 29 games before succumbing to a season-ending ankle injury.
However, the Warriors have struck gold with an injury-prone wing before in Otto Porter Jr. Perhaps with the Warriors, Winslow manages to remain healthy. And if he does, the Warriors will be reaping the benefits of having a defensively versatile, unselfish playmaker at the wing, which makes him such a strong fit for their offensive system that's predicated on player and ball movement.