Top Free Agent Targets: Golden State Warriors
Max Cap Space: $20,532,884
Projected Cap Space: -$70,201,746
Though they made it to a fifth straight NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were unable to complete the three peat. While injuries were certainly the biggest factor, they’re still an unfortunate part of the game. The Warriors will now look to retool this offseason and try for a sixth straight NBA Finals appearance.
1. Klay Thompson
The Warriors first priority this offseason will be to resign Klay Thompson to a max contract. One half of the vaunted “Splash Brothers”, alongside teammate Stephen Curry, Thompson is arguably one of the best shooters in NBA history. He’s a catch and shoot nightmare that can heat up in a moments notice and rain bombs. He’s also an underrated but elite perimeter defender that can shut down opposing point guards. Though he’ll be recovering from an ACL injury most of next season, giving Thompson the max is a no brainer (something the Warriors are reportedly ready to do).
2. Kevin Durant
Though second on the list, Durant is more of a 1B to Thompson’s 1A. He’s been as vital to the Warriors success since coming to the team in 2016, but he hasn’t been with them as long as Klay plus his Achilles injury is much tougher to come back from. Still, Durant is an all-time level scorer that’s improved considerably as a playmaker and defender. Even with the injury, he’ll be offered max contracts from multiple teams this offseason. While resigning Durant and Thompson would cap out the Warriors, having four All-Stars is the kind of good problem you’d like to have.
3. DeMarcus Cousins
Assuming the Warriors resign one or both of Durant and Thompson, they’ll be capped out with limited moves left to make. One such move could be bringing back Cousins. Though he looked a step slow coming back from his own Achilles injury, he was still of value to the Warriors enough to play him in the playoffs. A bruising center and excellent passer for his position, Cousins allows the Warriors to play against bigger lineups. His quad injury in the playoffs limited his chance to show off before free agency, so he could be available for the Warriors for cheap again.
4. Kevon Looney
One of the standout performers for the Warriors last postseason, Looney would also be a good option to bring back. While not the most talented offensive player, mainly scoring off effort plays like dunks and put backs, he’s a switchable defender that allows the Warriors to play their preferred defensive scheme. It’s no coincidence that once Looney went down with a collarbone injury the Warriors were forced to play Cousins more despite not being fully healthy. Looney returned and played through injury on limited minutes, but it was almost enough for the Warriors to push a Game 7. Still young, another year to grow in Golden State could yield more results.
5. Austin Rivers
Last on the list is a potential backup point guard should Shaun Livingston retire this offseason. Always brimming with confidence, Rivers isn’t afraid to run the offense and has the skills to be a serviceable backup. He packs enough scoring that defenses have to respect him and he’s big enough to be a somewhat switchable defender. He had a good showing this season with the Houston Rockets, playing well alongside superstars James Harden and Chris Paul. The Warriors already have the starpower part down, they just need the smaller moves now to flesh out the roster.