The Golden State Warriors may have been one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, but even the biggest Dubs hater knows that was due to injury issues up and down the roster.
With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson set to return next season, Golden State should return to being one of the top clubs in the Western Conference.
Apparently, impending veteran free agents have already taken note of this, as Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium recently reported that players are already viewing the Dubs as a potential landing spot this offseason.
Of course, the Warriors are fairly strapped for cash, so they only have the taxpayer mid-level exception and the veteran’s minimum to offer guys, but there is a chance they can land an impact player or two.
Let’s take a look at few free agents Golden State should absolutely take a look at whenever free agency actually opens.
6. Justin Holiday
Justin Holiday is enjoying one of the most efficient seasons of his career, shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range in 65 games with the Indiana Pacers.
He is far from a star, but the Warriors probably aren’t going to be landing any star-caliber players with what they have to offer, anyway.
Holiday would bolster Golden State’s shoddy wing depth and would provide the club with a seasoned veteran who can guard multiple positions and run with Curry and Co. in transition.
You can see his warts when he plays big minutes, but as a guy getting 15-20 minutes per game off the bench, he would complement the Dubs’ roster perfectly.
5. Maurice Harkless
The Warriors’ defense isn’t what it once was, and Maurice Harkless would help solve that problem.
Harkless is a terrific wing defender with the length, athleticism and instincts to guard the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer. While he isn’t much of an offensive threat, defenses still need to respect his 3-point shot.
Plus, Harkless is not going to try to do too much. He is a lifetime 47.8 percent shooter, an obvious indication that he knows his limitations and only takes shots he knows he can make.
Also, you can imagine that Harkless would do rather well on the fast break in Golden State.
Think of him as a poor man’s Andre Iguodala.
4. Bryn Forbes
Bryn Forbes emerged as a legitimate long-range weapon for the San Antonio Spurs a few years ago, and in 2018-19, he actually shot 42.6 percent from deep.
His shooting numbers have been down a bit this season, as he is making 38.8 percent of his triples, but that is still pretty good.
Behind Curry, the Warriors don’t have a whole lot of depth in the backcourt. Typically, the Dubs have had guys like Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa and Quinn Cook to relieve Steph for stretches, but now, the cupboard is pretty bare.
Forbes would remedy that issue pretty quickly, as he would essentially be an upgrade over what Cook was for Golden State the previous couple of years.
He isn’t much of a defender, but his ability to fill it up from distance would be huge for the Dubs off the pine.
3. Jae Crowder
You won’t find many tougher guys in the NBA than Jae Crowder.
Capable of playing either forward position, Crowder has made a living out of being a junkyard dog type of guy, using his strength, physicality and sheer will and determination to rough up even the biggest wings in the league.
While Crowder is no longer quite the offensive force he was during his Boston Celtics days, he remains a respectable threat due to his ability to step out and make a 3.
But the main selling points for Crowder are his toughness and his experience. Imagine a small-ball defensive frontcourt of Green and Crowder. That wouldn’t be fun for opposing offenses.
2. Aron Baynes
With the year Aron Baynes is having in Phoenix, he could possibly land a bigger contract elsewhere. But at 33 years old, Baynes may simply want to have the opportunity to play for a title.
The big Aussie truly broke out during his playoff run with the Celtics back in 2018, when he suddenly developed into a reliable 3-point threat. Now, he is shooting 35.1 percent from deep on decent volume (four attempts per game) and is averaging a career-high 11.5 points per game.
The Warriors also really need some beef up front, and Baynes would provide that. He is not just a big body, either, but a seriously terrific defender, possessing the ability to both protect the rim and effectively guard the pick-and-roll.
Additionally, Baynes is an elite screen-setter, which would help only Curry and Thompson up for even more open looks.
1. Trevor Ariza
Golden State battled Ariza as a rival in the playoffs for years when he was in Houston. Now, the Dubs will have a chance to sign him as a free agent.
Ariza is technically under contract with the Portland Trail Blazers for 2020-21, but only $1.8 million of it is guaranteed. If the Blazers release him, they can save $11 million. Given their salary cap situation, that seems like something they will do.
So let’s assume Ariza becomes available.
You have to think that Ariza will ring chase at this point of his career, and the Warriors are an ideal landing spot for him, especially after the departure of Iguodala.
Ariza can play either forward spot and is well-known as a reliable 3-and-D guy. Much like Crowder, he could fill the small-ball power forward role alongside Green and wreak havoc defensively.