5 Moves Golden State Warriors Can Still Make This Summer

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 21, 2018

5 Moves Golden State Warriors Can Still Make This Summer

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    It's probably safe to assume the Golden State Warriors are not resting on their laurels after winning three NBA titles in four seasons.

    In 2016, they followed a 73-win campaign—and historic Finals flop—by signing Kevin Durant. In 2017, they traded for Jordan Bell on draft night and inked both Nick Young and Omri Casspi after a 16-1 march through the postseason.

    They entered this summer on the heels of yet another championship and a mostly stress-free postseason (take out the seven-game Western Conference finals, and the Dubs were 12-2). They've nonetheless kept busy by adding DeMarcus Cousins—yes, the DeMarcus Cousins—Jonas Jerebko and Jacob Evans.

    And they're not done yet.

    The bulk of their offseason adjustments have been made, but the following five moves are worth considering for the present and the future.

Find a Second Two-Way Player

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    Golden State wasted no time making the most of the two-way contracts introduced ahead of last season. That's how it first signed Quinn Cook, the scoring guard who fared better than expected as Stephen Curry's understudy and wound up among the Warriors' top 10 in playoff minutes.

    The Warriors have already signed a two-way agreement with Damion Lee, a 6'6" wing who played 15 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season—and is Stephen Curry's future brother-in-law. But after waiving project big man Chris Boucher earlier this summer, the Warriors might be willing to ink another two-way deal with a more polished player.

    "The Warriors have wanted to sign players to two-way deals that can play substantial minutes on an as-needed basis," Mark Medina wrote for the Bay Area News Group. "The Warriors have also wanted to bolster their bench with young scorers."

    It's never easy to tell where or how to find a hidden gem, but there's at least a base model the Dubs should target. They quietly need more perimeter scoring and shooting behind their All-Star starters. No bench unit averaged fewer threes last season (1.8) and only seven supplied fewer points (33.0).

    Kendrick Nunn, who impressed enough at summer league to land an Exhibit 10 contract, per RealGM's Keith Smith, could be a candidate should the Dubs choose to convert his deal.

Quietly Monitor Trade Market

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    While trades seemingly come together quickly, the buildup to the transaction can be a slow, patient process. Front-office execs must stay connected to know which players might become available and what their teams might seek in return.

    The Warriors, it should be said, have no obvious trade candidates at the moment. Their lumbering, un-switchable bigs from last season have either signed elsewhere or had their roster spots filled by someone else. The Nick Young experiment was a one-year trial. If the Dubs have any non-essentials, they're of the young and cheap variety—the player type this costly core needs around it.

    But should an injury create a void or a clear weakness appear, Golden State has players it could quietly shop.

    Damian Jones should get his chance this season after bouncing between the varsity and junior-varsity Warriors the past two. But even if he proves competent, they might not need him. They'll have Cousins (when healthy), Jordan Bell, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Kevin Durant and even Jonas Jerebko potentially in the center rotation. If Jones could fetch a two-way wing, that might better utilize the roster spot.

    And he's not the only one who could be expendable. Cook is both the third point guard and the reserve unit's third playmaker. Conversely, if players like Cook and Evans demand more floor time, maybe the Dubs see if they can trim costs and add assets by gauging the trade value of Shaun Livingston. Lastly, the club should know its escape options with Cousins and Jerebko in case either fails to click on or off the court.

Re-Sign Patrick McCaw

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    Save for the championship ending, little went right during Patrick McCaw's sophomore season. He battled both injuries and inconsistent shooting, and he struggled gaining separation in his fight for floor time with Nick Young (who similarly underwhelmed).

    So, why would the Warriors want McCaw and his career 8.0 player efficiency rating? Because so much of what made him look like a draft-night heist as a rookie remains true. If they liked his potential before, one rocky, injury-riddled season shouldn't scare them off from the 22-year-old.

    "He's still a long wing (6'7" with a 6'10" wingspan) in a league that values long wings more than ever," Pounding the Rock's Jesus Gomez wrote. "He can shut down passing lanes and stay in front of his man. On offense, he still has the shiftiness in the pick-and-roll to make plays for himself and others."

    If McCaw finds a consistent touch from distance (career 29.6 percent), he'd fit the coveted three-and-D mold with more off-the-bounce ability than the role typically yields. If not, he's still a multipositional defender and willing ball-mover.

    That's too tempting to pass on, especially if it would only take his $1.7 million qualifying offer to keep him.

Explore the Bargain Bin

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    Bringing back McCaw would put 14 players on the roster, and sources told the Athletic's Anthony Slater the Warriors want to keep that last spot open to save tax money and retain flexibility.

    That's a sound strategy. It's also one that should be fluid, depending on market conditions.

    The almost league-wide cap crunch has left free agents either accepting below-market deals or waiting for offers that have yet to come. As a result, some interesting players remain unsigned and perhaps available for much cheaper than they should be.

    It's easy to keep an extra roster spot open when presuming any 15th man wouldn't be worthy of floor time. It gets a tad trickier when a player like Jamal Crawford is still looking for work nearly three weeks into free agency.

    Before the market even opened, the Warriors were linked to history's favorite sixth man. The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II reported Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and some assistant coaches were all on board with bringing Crawford back to the Bay. The Warriors haven't had a reserve scorer like him in years; they should at least consider the possibility.

Try Extending Klay Thompson

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    This falls under the extremely-wishful-thinking umbrella. Klay Thompson's father, Mychal Thompson, would say the odds aren't even that high.

    "Klay definitely wants to play his whole career in Golden State and the Bay Area—there's no question about that," he said on 95.7 The Game (via NBC Sports Bay Area). "He loves it up there. ... Loves the fans. But let's just say that negotiations will probably continue in the summer of '19."

    Financially, that would be the best decision Thompson could make. Salary cap expert Albert Nahmad said Thompson's richest extension this offseason would be a four-year, $102 million deal. If he waited until next offseason, he'd be eligible for a five-year, $187.9 million max from the Warriors or a four-year, $139.3 million deal from someone else.

    Still, the Warriors must try to engage. They've reportedly discussed a new deal, per The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, and Thompson has said he isn't looking for a change of scenery.

    "I have an identity here," he told Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher. "It would be hard for me to envision going anywhere else."

    That doesn't mean Thompson will sign sooner than later or save the organization boat loads of money when he does. But what's the harm in asking?


    Unless otherwise indicated, all stats from Basketball Reference or NBA.com. Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @ZachBuckleyNBA.