The Golden State Warriors’ offseason is essentially over less than a month before it started.
JaMychal Green is set to sign with the reigning champions after completing a buyout from the Oklahoma City Thunder, giving Golden State its 12th guaranteed contract. The Warriors aren’t rushing Andre Iguodala into a decision on retirement, content to hold a roster spot for him into September, and reportedly plan to sign second-round pick Ryan Rollins to full-time NBA deal.
Iguodala’s return would leave Golden State with a single remaining roster slot, one the team is likely to leave vacant to save a few million in luxury tax payments and potentially bring in a veteran on the buyout market come spring. But the Warriors won’t look much different even if Iguodala, turning 39 in January, finally hangs it up and they replace him with another deep reserve on a minimum contract.
Golden State is ready to run it back just a few weeks after reaching the NBA mountaintop for the first time in four years. Getting there again no doubt depend most on the health and performance of their stars, but the Warriors’ understated yet active offseason looms large to their hopes of repeating, too.
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Warriors 2022 NBA Offseason Grades
Golden State’s top two draft picks didn’t participate in Summer League action, beset by minor injury. Expect both Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins to get a clean bill of health leading up to training camp, catching up on everything they missed at Chase Center and in Las Vegas before official preparation for the 2022-23 season begin.
It’s disappointing Baldwin and Rollins were on the Summer League headlines, but hardly some indictment of the Warriors drafting them.
Baldwin’s ugly freshman season at Milwaukee came in part due to lingering discomfort in his left ankle, which he dislocated as a senior in high school. Just scraping at the potential that made the 6’10 sharpshooter a consensus top-five recruit hinges on Baldwin reaching full health. Good on Golden State for not rushing him into Summer League play.
Rollins’ absence was more surprising given his health record going into the draft. But the Warriors uncovered a stress fracture in his right foot during his onboarding process, an injury Rollins “didn’t feel” as a sophomore at Toledo or during pre-draft workouts. He still has all the unique off-dribble verve and burgeoning three-level scoring ability that make him a favorite of scouts and draftniks.
Gui Santos is the only member of Golden State’s draft class who participated in Summer League, flashing tantalizing feel and creativity as a playmaker at 6’8. The Brazilian forward struggled with turnovers while stretching his on-ball limits and lacks a degree of quick-twitch athleticism, but his blend of size, ball handling craft and nascent shooting ability make it obvious Santos was worth one of the last picks in the draft.
Free Agency: B+
The Warriors set a record in total payroll last season that they’ll break in 2022-23. No owner with the possible exception of Steve Ballmer has been more willing to go deep into the luxury tax than Joe Lacob.
But don’t let the aggregate price tag of retaining Gary Payton II, some $60+ million annually over the life of his would-be new contract, dissuade your frustration at the Dubs letting Young Glove walk in free agency. Golden State produced a whopping $800 million in revenue last season, and Lacob is a billionaire multiples times over.
The Warriors could’ve brought Payton back if they really wanted. The sharpest sting of his exit didn’t last too long, though. Golden State found an ideal replacement in Donte DiVincenzo just a few hours after Payton bailed for the Portland Trail Blazers.
DiVincenzo’s ceiling with Golden State depends on his spot-up shooting. If he’s nearing 40% on cleaner catch-and-shoot looks than he’s ever had in his career, DiVincenzo’s offensive influence could mean his overall impact on the Warriors is similar to Payton’s last season. Either way, his dogged defense on and off the ball and all-around versatility on the other end gives Steve Kerr another valuable chess piece when he’s tinkering with lineups and matchups in both the regular season and playoffs.
Green’s prospects are somewhat similar, but to a lesser degree. He shot a completely uncharacteristic 26.6% from deep with the Denver Nuggets last season and isn’t the explosive athlete he was a few years ago, but there are no other statistical red flags indicating Green’s rapid decline.
He fills the on-paper hole left by Nemanja Bjelica heading back overseas, but could also help account for Otto Porter’s departure and any growing pains experienced by Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman. Keep in mind that Green, who can play both frontcourt spots if his jumper’s falling, has much more playoff experience than those guys, too.
Kevon Looney’s unrestricted free agency was a bigger priority for Golden State than Payton and Porter’s. Bringing him back on a three-year, $22.5 million deal—partially guaranteed in its final season—both acknowledges Looney’s pivotal role in the Warriors’ championship run and the outsized value he provides to his incumbent team as a non-shooter and limited finisher.
It’s a win for Looney and Golden State, just like the Warriors’ pivot to DiVincenzo and Green after losing Payton and Porter.
The odds are still very much against Kevin Durant coming back to The Bay. Lacob seems lukewarm on the idea at best, clinging to the possibility of another decade of title contention behind his team’s young core. Andrew Wiggins’ necessary inclusion in the deal is a hurdle the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets may not be able to get over.
But as the market for Durant cools, expect rumors of his return to continue. Just don’t count on them coming to fruition.
Overall Offseason Grade: B+
Golden State entered the summer movement period as a way-too-early title favorite, and leaves it in the same pole position despite losing a couple key contributors. Combined with an intriguing draft, maintaining that status marks an objectively successful offseason.