Offseason Preview: Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors (73-9)
*Photo via NBA Images
The season may have ended on a down note, but the Warriors are arguably in the best situation of any franchise in the association. They are probably the only team in the league that has three of the top 15 players in the world, and all three of them are still 28 or younger. Losing the NBA Finals is always a tough pill to swallow, especially when you lose in the fashion Golden State did, but there is no need to panic in the Bay area.
Who Leaves,Who Stays:
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For all three unrestricted free agents it will come down to whether or not they value the winning culture built in Golden State or getting more money. It’s hard to imagine any of these guys getting more than veteran’s minimum from GSW, but I’m sure the Warriors would welcome all of them back at this price. The restricted free agents are much more interesting. Ian Clark was an underutilized player this past season that I believe can flourish in a larger role. With so many teams with cap room I’m sure someone will offer him more money than the Warriors are willing to match. Ezeli is another player that other teams will offer more money than Golden State can afford. With Iguodala, Bogut, Green, Curry, Thompson, and Barnes/his replacement set to make big bucks, there will be no money left to spend on Ezeli. Barnes is the team’s most important free agent. Barnes has been a vital part to GSW’s success as the starting small forward for the 2014-15 champs and the 2015-16 best regular season team in NBA history. Despite all of this the Warriors should let him walk. Teams aren’t always as willing to offer big contracts to restricted free agents, but given the unprecedented leap in the salary cap, there will be definitely be at least one team desperate enough to offer Barnes a max deal. Barnes is a good player, but he is not worth max salary. Given Golden State’s young roster and great team culture I’m sure that they will be able to attract a top free agent to replace Barnes that can bring more bang for the buck.
Small forward (if Barnes leaves)
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