Even after losing Klay Thompson for the year, the Golden State Warriors remain focused on making use of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green's 30s by making a run at title contention. With a Kelly Oubre Jr. trade pending, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the team continues to pursue players who can help fill the void.
Past Golden State's Big Three, the only Warriors with over four years of NBA experience are the 25-year-old Andrew Wiggins and 24-year-old Kevon Looney. Past the Splash Brothers, no Dub shoots better than 34.8 percent from three on his career.
The team's identity was built on savviness, with a dynamic pace and space offense alongside a tenacious switching defense. But for that character to return in time for a playoff run without Thompson, Golden State has to seek out talent.
Already far above the cap, Stadium and The Athletic's Shams Charania reports that Golden State's front office is vying for more flexibility by applying for Thompson's disabled player's exception. With the team's $17 million trade exception used up by Oubre's contract, the DPE would offer general manager Bob Myers another $9.3 million to work with (albeit restricted to a one-year deal).
In addition, Myers can offer minimum contracts and the $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level exception. And for trades, a variety of picks, but Wiggins is the only player outside of the Big Three who makes over $4.8 million annually.
Barring a blockbuster involving Maple Mamba, the Dubs can still target pick-based trades for players like P.J. Tucker and Derrick Rose or try to sell free agents like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marc Gasol on discounted one-year contracts.
Trade Targets Using the DPE: P.J. Tucker and Derrick Rose
Of players hitting the salary requirement of $9.3 million, the Houston Rockets' P.J. Tucker and Detroit Pistons' Derrick Rose are the most intriguing. Should Houston trade James Harden and slide into a rebuild or should Detroit hand the reins over to rookie Killian Hayes, either could become available.
Tucker, at $8 million, and Rose, at $7.7 million, are in the final years of their contracts. More importantly, while neither is a lights-out shooter, they each fill obvious gaps.
Tucker is an excellent, versatile defender who has hit over 37 percent of his threes in two of the past three seasons. That's a better rate than any of the team's bigs have ever hit (barring Draymond Green's 38.8 percent in 2016 before the Kevin Hart fiasco) and higher than projected starting wings Oubre and Wiggins have ever reached.
The 6'5", 35-year-old would intrigue as a starting 3 and versatile rotation piece, letting the 24-year-old Oubre grow into the system on the bench.
Rose, meanwhile, is a veteran playmaker who has resurged and averaged at least 18 points and four assists in each of the past two seasons. At present, Jordan Poole, Nico Mannion and the recently acquired Brad Wanamaker are the bench's best playmakers. Rose is a much more comfortable option at the backup 1 while they develop.
Golden State is unlikely to move Minnesota's top-three protected 2021 first-round pick unless it's a major deal involving Wiggins and an incoming star. But other options are in play. Past that pick, the Warriors have three second-rounders over the next seven years (Minnesota's in 2021, their own in 2022 and 2027) and five first-rounders (their own in 2022, 2023, 2025, 2026 and 2027).
Using similar pick protections to those used in the D'Angelo Russell and Oubre trades (protected if the team lands outside of the league's top 20 by season's end), Myers could use that draft capital to try to acquire another capable vet ahead of the season.
Haggling for Free-Agent Talent: Bogdanovic, Gasol and More
The best free agents are highly coveted and may not jump at a $9 million deal for just one year. According to Charania, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will get $40 million over three years to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, cheaper veterans like Rajon Rondo and Serge Ibaka are signing deals in the $8 million annual range, but for multiple years.
Still, Golden State will likely explore all options for the DPE. That includes selling free agents on a chance to take $9 million for a one-year opportunity to build up their value for next offseason while fighting for the playoffs alongside Curry.
Bogdanovic passes the eye test as a dynamic shooter and playmaker, but it's a busy market and he will be hard to pull away from a substantial pay day. In the meantime, Woj reports that Marc Gasol is an early target.
Gasol, coming off of a five-year, $113.2 million deal, isn't the player he once was, but he can still provide enough valuable minutes to give Marquese Chriss and James Wiseman time to develop. The imposing Spaniard has a great feel on offense, can move bodies in the paint and has shot 36.6 percent from three since he began taking multiple per game in 2017.
Unlike Tucker, who would likely force Oubre to the bench, or Rose, who would come off said bench, Gasol could easily slot in as the team's starting 5. That would enable Golden State to return to the team's Andrew Bogut roots in which Golden State started games off by bullying with a true big before moving to the mobile, smaller death lineup.
Other candidates in the DPE range include DeMarcus Cousins, Austin Rivers, Torrey Craig and Reggie Jackson. Past them, the team could look to free agents like Nicolas Batum, Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore and Isaiah Thomas for minimum or MLE deals.