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Warriors Reportedly Intend to Pursue Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica in Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

With their key cogs locked in long term, the Golden State Warriors will focus their efforts on retaining their supporting cast, according to The Athletic's Anthony Slater.

To that end, Slater reported Monday the Warriors "intend to pursue reunions" with Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica.

Golden State's loss to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Finals and 15-win season in 2019-20 laid bare how much depth the team had lost through attrition or the salary cap.

The injuries to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry obviously didn't help two seasons ago, but head coach Steve Kerr used 22 players that year. Eric Paschall, Glenn Robinson III, Damion Lee, Alec Burks and Jordan Poole were the top five on the team in minutes played.

Especially as the Warriors' Big Three get deeper into their 30s, maintaining a strong roster from top to bottom is imperative toward contending for championships.

Porter averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 63 regular-season games for Golden State. He was equally effective in the playoffs, when he shot 40.4 percent from beyond the arc and collected 8.7 boards per 100 possessions, according to Basketball Reference.

Bjelica took a back seat for much of the title run, logging a total of 150 minutes in the playoffs, but he did help spell starters in physical matchups throughout the postseason. In the regular season, he continued to be an effective floor-spacing big as he shot 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.

ESPN's Bobby Marks noted how the cost of running it back for the Warriors could total $430 million between payroll and luxury tax penalties.

The fates of Porter and Bjelica likely won't make or break Golden State's championship hopes in 2022-23, but it will send a message about ownership's continued willingness to chase success at any cost.

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