Looking at the matchups they could see in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors finally seem ready to consider addressing an area they usually ignore.
They are willing to add a veteran big man.
The last time they added such a player in the final two months of the regular season was 2019, when they lured Andrew Bogut out of semi-retirement. He didn’t play big minutes, but there were times when he scored.
With each of the top five teams in the Western Conference having at least one 7-footer, it behooves the Warriors to go shopping. They must, by February 22, fill the spot created by trade point guard Cory Joseph last week and they seem satisfied with their current guards and wings.
As a second-tier team, Golden State can only sign someone whose original contract was less than $12.4 million.
Here are five big men – whose past salaries could match – who are currently NBA free agents or could become free agents through buyouts:
DeMarcus Cousins (NBA free agent)
Having spent the 2018-19 season with Golden State, Cousins knows the system. He is 33 years old, younger than Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. He’s 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds and still has offensive skills, having scored a 30-point game two weeks ago in Taiwan.
But Boogie’s left leg has undergone surgeries to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon and a torn ACL, so his lack of mobility doesn’t allow for effective defense in the paint. There is no chance of changing and not much rim protection. Additionally, Cousins, by most accounts, did not fit perfectly into the team’s culture.
Would the Warriors be interested? Not likely.
Andre Drummond (buyout candidate)
A two-time All-Star and four-time NBA rebounding champion, Drummond would have been an attractive candidate. While he’s not a great defender, he uses his 6-foot-11, 279-pound frame well enough to avoid constant exploitation.
A few weeks ago, there were discussions about trading Drummond, but the Bulls decided not to make any significant moves. Recent reports indicate that Drummond, who sometimes shares the court with starting center Nikola Vucevic, will likely remain in Chicago as it seeks a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
Would the Warriors be interested if the Bulls ultimately decided to buy out his contract? Very probable.
Robin Lopez (early buyout)
The former Stanford big man stands 7-foot-1, 280 pounds and is ready to be physical. He’s also the kind of carefree character, which has endeared him to many of his former teammates. He would easily fit into Golden State’s locker room.
But RoLo, who is expected to be waived by the Kings, hasn’t been a consistent rotation player since 2022. He only played 65 minutes for the Bucks this season before being traded last week. He is, at the very least, a big body of 35 years old who knows how to take on his fellow Percherons.
Would the Warriors take a look if he was bought out? Probably.
Otto Porter Jr. (planned buyout)
He was a key member of Golden State’s 2022 championship team. Signed to a one-year, veteran-minimum contract, Porter produced in scoring while also providing a presence in the paint. He got a two-year contract with Toronto. He plays bigger than his 6-foot-8, 230-pound physique.
The Warriors, however, have had to be careful with the use of Porter, whose left foot requires regular maintenance and rest. He missed 19 games in the regular season and three more in the playoffs. He played only eight games in his first season with the Raptors and only 15 before being traded to Utah last week.
Would the Warriors consider the 30-year-old? Only if he could pass a medical exam, and there are serious doubts about that.
Thaddeus Young (available)
There was a time when Young, 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, was expecting a double-double. As a limited minutes reserve, he can still deliver on his promise – he sure did for the Raptors. An energetic player who has spent his 16-year career in the paint, Young is also an excellent locker room presence.
The Raptors traded Young, 35, because they are going all-in on a rebuild. The Nets hired him as a secondary acquisition in a deal that landed veteran guard Dennis Schröder. Young played in 23 games with Toronto, including 16 in a row heading into the trade deadline.
Are the Warriors interested? Maybe. No clear indication yet, but this could change as the market evolves in the coming days.
With the market likely to change in the coming hours and days, the Warriors could potentially move beyond these five players.
But if they participate in the play-in tournament and reach the playoffs, there is no way they will be able to avoid all the 7-footers, including Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets, Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves, Ivica Zubać of the Clippers, Chet Holmgren of the Thunder, Jusuf Nurkić of the Suns, Jonas Valančiunas of the Pelicans.
This would appear to be the year in which the Warriors would benefit from the addition of a big man familiar with the rhythms and intensity of the NBA playoffs.
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