The Golden State Warriors won the 2018 NBA Championship; that makes it two championships in a row and three out of the last four for the Bay Area team. Their fans have seen arguably the greatest four-year stretch not only in the NBA, but in professional sports as their dominant Warriors haven't seemed to face much adversity out of a few games here or there.
While the players, coaching staff, trainers, and executives have all been celebrating with their fans the last few days, The Athletic's Anthony Slater has already begun looking ahead at the 2018-19 season, when the Warriors will look to three-peat for first time in franchise history. According to Slater, Golden State will very likely not be bringing back the same exact championship team next year, and he noted that a pair of cuts will come at the center position with big men Zaza Pachulia and David West.
Pachulia and West are the two most likely to be gone. It’s almost a sure thing. It’s possible both head into retirement. But even if either or both want to continue their careers, it’s unlikely it’ll be with the Warriors. Another thing the Rockets series exposed: the Warriors’ need for more wing options.
The 34 year old Pachulia finished this season averaging 5.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 69 games, including 57 starts. He only appeared in seven playoff games this season, but played a mere 3.7 minutes per game (so basically, garbage time). The Warriors elected to start small with their death lineup, otherwise known as the Hampton's 5, or young with an athletic Kevon Looney at the five.
West, 37 years of age, played 73 games for Golden State this year and averaged 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 block in 13.7 minutes per game. He considered retirement last summer after the Warriors 2017 NBA Championship, but decided to go for another ride and it resulted in a second NBA Championship. If West doesn't retire this summer, it looks like his future won't be with the Warriors.
In addition to the two centers, Slater says that Nick Young's future with the team will likely end this summer as well.
There are only two other free agents on the roster. Nick Young is one. He was a fun locker-room presence and a few random playoff 3s and not disastrous defense in the final couple rounds turned his $5.2 million midlevel contract from obvious mistake to slightly salvaged.
Still: It’d be a stunner if he’s back next season. It’s more likely that Young is somewhere still shirtless, celebrating this title in October, rather than in camp.
Young played 80 games for the Warriors this season, averaging 7.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.5 three-pointers per game in 17.4 minutes per game.
Anything could happen this offseason, but as of right now, it appears that the Warriors will be looking to re-tool their bench as they pursue a third championship in three years and four in five.