After five straight trips to the NBA Finals, and three NBA Championships, the Golden State Warriors became a shell of themselves in the 2019-20 season.
Following major injuries to several key players, and the departure of several others in free agency, the team was unable to overcome the obstacles and finished dead last in league standings.
But there is a silver lining to all of this: it will get better. Not only are the Steph Curry and Klay Thompson set to return alongside Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, but the Dubs are likely to be granted a top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft which they can either use to acquire a top prospect or trade to acquire another established veteran star.
In free-agency, they are likely to be a major attraction and have a number of different options for players they can sign. Here is a view of the list of potential targets:
Too Expensive: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Paul Millsap
These players are the least likely candidates to sign with the Warriors this summer. Ibaka and Gasol already have a Championship and Millsap is doing fine in Denver so there is no expectation that they will take a pay cut to sign with Golden State.
The Most Realistic Target: Jae Crowder
Crowder is one of the most likely targets because he’s an affordable veteran who helps the team where they need it most: the wing. With almost nothing to show for his 7-year-career so far, the Memphis forward is bound to be hungry and itching to win big. Golden State offers him the chance to do just that.
Mid-Level Options: Mo Harkless, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Aron Baynes, Mason Plumlee, Robin Lopez, JaMychal Green
The Warriors need some size and they will be looking for some this free agency. Fortunately, there is a long list of big men waiting for their chance to shine. Green, Plumlee, and Lopez can provide size a defensive edge in the frontcourt while guys like Harkless, Baynes, and the Morris twins can help bolster the offense. All of them should be somewhat affordable and very much willing to sign with the Warriors, assuming they don’t re-up with their current teams.
Young Players: Harry Giles, Kris Dunn, Josh Jackson
Nobody knows what the Warriors will do with their 2020 lottery pick, but it doesn’t seem as if they’ve ruled out the possibility of keeping it. As their core ages, the team can start to develop some young talent who may be ready to lead the team themselves in 5 or more years. Giles, Dunn, and Jackson aren’t the sexiest names but they would likely come at little cost and it would give the team some fresh legs to depend on for the long-term future.
Minimum Wings: Glenn Robinson, Alec Burks, Jeff Green, DeMarre Carroll, Evan Turner, Jabari Parker, Wilson Chandler, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Marvin Williams
Again, wing players are probably the Warriors’ biggest positional need right now. And while Crowder may be the best fit, it will be impossible for them to sign him if his contract demands exceed what they can offer. The names above are wing players who would likely come at no cost to the team — meaning they can sign any (and several) of these players. Marvin Williams may be the best name available in this category, whose desire to win may convince him to sign for cheap.
Minimum Guards: D.J. Augustin, Matthew Dellavedova
Guards are a dime-a-dozen in today’s NBA and while the Warriors may have Curry, they need a solid and capable backup to replace him off the bench — especially since Shaun Livingston will not be coming back. Both D.J. Augustin and Matthew Dellavedova are cheap and proven names expected to be available this summer and the Warriors could give them a hard look.
Minimum Bigs: Meyers Leonard, Dragan Bender, DeMarcus Cousins, Taj Gibson, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len
There are some really good names in this category. Guys like Cousins, Len, Leonard, and Bender bring offensive fire-power to the Warriors, including on the perimeter while Gibson and Noel would bring more value to the defensive end. Either way, they’re all solid options and — best of all — they’re expected to be super cheap.
Obviously, some targets are more realistic than others, and those are the names that Golden State will look at the most. They can’t afford anything expensive either, so expect the team to sign short, cheap, one-year deals.
If you want to read more depth about potential Warriors targets, check out one of the best sites in the world, The Athletic (30 Days Guest Pass).