5 Free Agents the Golden State Warriors Must Pursue

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 9, 2012

5 Free Agents the Golden State Warriors Must Pursue

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    Despite fans' wishes, the Golden State Warriors had no plans to be players in the 2012 NBA free-agent market.

    With over $44 million already committed to Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins for this season and next (a number exasperated by their ill-fated decision to waste the amnesty clause last season on the expiring $4 million contract of Charlie Bell), the Warriors simply do not have the resources to sign even second-tier free agents.

    But the organization does hope to find at least one productive player on the free-agent market. It won't be a big name, or even a starter, but the team has scoured the free-agent pool seeking depth at either guard position and in their frontcourt.

    According to Contra Costa Times reporter Marcus Thompson II, the team expects to have somewhere around $4 million to spend on a free agent.

    Now that the second-tier (and below) free agents have begun to sign their contracts, the Warriors should have the funds to contend for these role players.

    Here are five players that Warriors GM Bob Myers has to consider.

5. Jonny Flynn

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    2011-12 Statistics: 4.5 points, 3.3 assists, 1.2 turnovers, 14.3 minutes

    Flynn is far removed from being the sixth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft (Minnesota).

    More importantly for the Warriors, though, is that he's also far removed from posting a respectable line during his rookie campaign: 13.5 points and 4.4 assists in 28.9 minutes.

    His promising career screeched to a halt when he suffered an injury during his sophomore season that necessitated offseason hip surgery.

    His spot in the Timberwolves' rotation was lost. Shortly there after, his Timberwolves locker was lost as he was dealt first to the Rockets, then later to the Trailblazers where he finished last season.

    Now that some of the second-tier point guards of this class (Kirk Hinrich, Jason Kidd and Andre Miller) have inked their new deals, attention will turn shortly to the third-tier point guards.

    Third-tier point guards won't excite a fanbase, but they should come cheap and see limited minutes playing behind a hopefully healthy Stephen Curry.

    At just 23 years old, perhaps a change of scenery and a chance to compete with incumbent backup Charles Jenkins would allow Flynn to recapture his ability that earned him that sixth overall selection (one spot ahead of Curry).

4. C.J. Miles

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    2011-12 Statistics: 9.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 20.4 minutes

    At one point in time, Miles seemed one of the league's great bargains when Utah matched Oklahoma City's four-year, $14.8 million offer for the former high-school-to-the-pros star prior to the 2008-09 season.

    Miles responded by increasing his scoring, rebounding and minutes in each of the first three seasons of his new deal, ultimately posting career-highs of 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 25.2 minutes in 2010-11.

    But with rookie Alec Burks and sophomore Gordon Hayward joining Miles in Utah's backcourt last season, his numbers (and minutes) tailed off.

    Now a nearly forgotten name on the free-agent market (behind bigger name guards like Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, Ray Allen and Louis Williams) Miles could bring a reliable option at the shooting guard position to his next team.

    He's shown an above average three-point shooting stroke in spurts and has the athleticism to finish near the rim.

    Should the Warriors fail to re-sign swingman Brandon Rush, they'll be in the market for a trustworthy backup for second-year sharpshooter Klay Thompson.

3. Jordan Hill

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    2011-12 Statistics: 5.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 14.1 minutes

    Yet another member of the 2009 draft class (the eighth overall pick by the New York Knicks), Hill barely managed a cup of coffee in the Big Apple before being dealt to the Houston Rockets during his rookie season.

    His Houston tenure lasted all of 104 games before the big man was sent to the Los Angeles Lakers midway through last season.

    Despite three largely forgettable seasons to start his career, Hill's name has emerged near the top of a talent-stricken power forward class, thanks in large part to a productive postseason with L.A where he grabbed 6.3 rebounds in just 18.1 minutes.

    With former second-round pick Jeremy Tyler and rookie Draymond Green battling for the backup power forward spot behind David Lee, the Warriors are rightfully in the market for a proven commodity at the position.

    Or, at the least, as proven of a commodity as this cash-strapped franchise can afford.

2. Tracy McGrady

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    2011-12 Statistics: 5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 16.1 minutes

    Normally, it'd be tough to sell an aging player with a history of knee injuries to a franchise in need of a difference-making presence on their bench.

    But this is the same franchise who are, according to nba.com's David Aldridge, reportedly less than a week removed from being one of two finalists for a player (Brandon Roy) who's knees were so ravaged he was forced into an early retirement.

    The 33-year-old McGrady is clearly farther removed from his All-Star days than the 27-year-old Roy.

    But unlike Roy, McGrady played in NBA games last season. Fifty-two of them in total.

    He's not the player who once averaged better than 25 points for five consecutive seasons (a stretch that included two scoring titles), but he's still a smart, savvy playmaker who could help his new team on and off the court.

    McGrady played last season for the Hawks at just the veteran's minimum so he's certainly in the team's price range.

    If he believes that the franchise has a serious chance at a postseason run, perhaps he'd sign with the Warriors at the minimum which would allow them to chase another free-agent target.

1. J.J. Hickson

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    2011-12 Statistics: 8.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 23.0 minutes

    If Hickson is the player who posted 15.1 points (on an efficient 54.3 percent shooting) and 8.3 rebounds in 19 games with Portland last season, his next employer will be getting a steal.

    If he's the player who managed a frustratingly inconsistent 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds during his three seasons in Cleveland, the market price is just about right.

    But if he's the player who put up an atrocious 4.7 points (on 37.0 percent shooting) and 5.1 rebounds during 35 games with Sacramento last season, he could be the biggest bust of the offseason.

    His high upside interested the Warriors last season when the team thought they could add him after he was waived by Sacramento late in the year. But Portland then claimed Hickson off waivers, but has since decided to not extend him a qualifying offer.

    That same upside (surely enhanced by his as-brief-as-it-was-productive Blazers tenure) has reportedly again interested Golden State, according to Contra Costa Times reporter Marcus Thompson II.

    In total, there are reportedly six franchises considering the former North Carolina State star. 

    He's not worth a budget-busting contract, but the Warriors don't have the funds to offer that much anyway. If they can afford his price tag, Hickson would be a solid addition to an improving Warriors frontcourt.