The Golden State Warriors have been irrelevant this year. They lost Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to injury and lost KD to free agency. As far as remaining competitive, the season was a wrap after the first month of the year.
But the Warriors have some things to look forward to next year since they get their two stars back and most likely will have a valuable top-three pick in the Draft. The Warriors can rebuild and compete for a title once again because they still have their Big Three intact. The franchise also has a mid-level exception meaning they can sign a productive veteran to help them win games.
Here are the 10 Veterans the Warriors can sign next season.
10. Aron Baynes
Baynes has made quite a name for himself during his time with the Boston Celtics and later Detroit Pistons. He is a big lad who can bang down low and also hit the outside shot (35.1% 3-pt FG). For the veteran’s minimum, Baynes is one of the best fits for a Warriors squad that has been looking for a paint enforcer for a while now.
9. Jeff Teague
Teague is a former All-Star who has lightning-quick speed and is a very solid playmaker (10.9 PPG and 5.2 APG this season). As a backup point guard, Teague can provide some of the best minutes in the league.
He is also very experienced and has been in the playoffs before, so his veteran leadership can be great when Stephen Curry heads to the bench for a rest. Expect Teague to look for veterans minimum or mid-level range salary in case he does get other offers.
8. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard really proved himself this year. After months of off-court issues and unwarranted attention on social media, Dwight recentered himself and dedicated his time to basketball. This has shown with his play this season, averaging 7.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 18.9 MPG.
Dwight will always be a solid rebounder and shot-blocker, so his presence inside will help the Warriors get on the fast break when he cleans up misses around the rim.
7. Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap is still a very good player for the Denver Nuggets, although he is starting to show some rust. He is a very experienced player however and can be very valuable in stretches of 5 minutes. This season Millsap is averaging 11.6 PPG on 43.5% shooting from three.
The Warriors acquiring a guy like Millsap gives them a versatile forward who can space the floor, defend the perimeter and post, and move the ball exceptionally well. Millsap is due for a mid-level contract and he won’t find a better spot than with Golden State.
6. Isaiah Thomas
I.T. will unfortunately never be able to get his maximum contract he felt he deserved after his historic last season with the Boston Celtics. Thomas is a shell of himself, an older player who is very miniature and somewhat injury-prone.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t be productive off the bench to still get buckets. He is averaging 12.2 PPG in only 23.1 minutes of play. Thomas made it clear he wants to play for the Warriors and can make an impact with at least double-figure scoring every game. If the Warriors want to hide him on defense like they did Steph Curry, they might take a shot with Thomas.
5. Derrick Favors
Favors is a solid big man for the New Orleans Pelicans and the only reason he would be let go is if the franchise wants to fully dedicate themselves to Zion Williamson. Zion is expected to be fully healthy next season, so moving on from Favors makes sense.
He is a perfect fit for the Warriors because he can rebound and defend well for his size. He is not a prototypical large center but this can be a good thing because he is more versatile and can be a great fit alongside Draymond Green.
4. Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside had a great season on paper, averaging a monster double-double with 15.5 PPG and 13.5 RPG, but once again went through stretches of lack of focus and apparent lack of motivation. It is highly unlikely a team will offer him anything close to a max contract this summer.
However, for a team like the Warriors, Whiteside is a perfect player. He is a natural rebounder and shot-blocker and can be a perfect fit for a team that needs someone to do the dirty work while the stars score the ball. Hassan might be encouraged to play for a great franchise dedicated to winning.
3. Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol is a great overall pick up for the Warriors next season. He can rebound, defend the paint, and is a great outlet passer on the break. Gasol is also an experienced veteran with championship experience, something that is extremely valuable for a team looking to get back into the postseason.
Gasol can start and be a more talented version of Andrew Bogut for the Warriors and is an excellent pickup for a mid-level exception or veteran’s minimum.
2. Serge Ibaka
Another NBA champion Serge Ibaka would shore up Golden States inside defense and provide a great shot-blocking partner next to stalwart Draymond Green. Serge Ibaka is having a nice season averaging 15.4 PPG and 8.2 RPG on 51.2% FG shooting.
Ibaka can start or come off the bench, giving valuable minutes on both ends of the floor. We all know what Ibaka can do on defense, but he can also space the floor and his three-point and mid-range shot is respectable.
1. Jordan Clarkson
High-volume scorer Jordan Clarkson would have an immediate impact coming off the Warriors bench. Without KD on the team, the Warriors cannot rely on just Steph and Klay to score all the points.
Having a guy like Clarkson come off the bench would help the two stars tremendously when one of them needs a rest. He has had a nice season (15.2 PPG average) so he might be looking to get paid this summer, although the Warriors could snatch him up with a mid-level exception.