Warriors Buyout Targets to Pursue After 2021 NBA Trade Deadline
They settled for a few cost-cutting subtractions instead. Without a healthy Klay Thompson, the potential payoff wasn't rich enough to push their chips to the center of the table.
Saying that, they shouldn't plan on coasting through the stretch run. Not when a playoff berth is right in their grasp, and especially not when Stephen Curry and Draymond Green only have so many stretch runs left.
The Warriors should focus on finding whatever spark might be out there on the buyout market. The following three players would be reasonable targets if they get there.
Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons
Wayne Ellington ranked among the most surprising players not to be traded at the deadline. Perhaps that means the Detroit Pistons are comfortable keeping him around, but the Warriors should hope that isn't the case.
They've been desperate for a dead-eye sniper since Thompson's Achilles betrayed him. Ellington would be a reasonable replacement—as a catch-and-shoot gunner only.
Golden State should be in the market for more non-Curry shooting, and Ellington shreds nets like few others can. Since 2016-17, only 26 players have more three-point splashes than his 656. Among the 40 players with 600-plus makes in that stretch, Ellington has the 17th-highest connection rate (38.5 percent) and is one of only two players to have logged fewer than 7,000 minutes.
He doesn't really bring anything else to the table, but he also doesn't really need to. He'd do enough damage launching off of screens and on spot-ups in coach Steve Kerr's system to carve out a not insignificant spot in this rotation.
Rodney Hood, Toronto Raptors
Rodney Hood may not be long for the North.
With the Toronto Raptors crashing and burning, the 28-year-old swingman might have little purpose on the roster. There are other, younger wings Toronto needs to prioritize, and while Hood has a $10.9 million salary for next season, it's non-guaranteed until June 23.
If Hood breaks loose, he'd be fun to have alongside Curry. Hood is a career 36.8 percent shooter from distance, so even his three-point threat might be enough to pull defenders away from the Chef. And when Golden State would need something more, Hood has enough off-the-dribble wiggle to dislodge from his defender and open a scoring chance for himself or his teammates (but probably just for himself).
The Warriors could use the upcoming stretch run and possible playoff trip to assess whether Hood is worth keeping around this summer, perhaps as a lower-cost alternative to Kelly Oubre Jr.
Otto Porter Jr., Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic really made the 2021 trade deadline what it was. If they don't put Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier up for grabs, swap season could've been a real sleeper.
The buyout market has already seen some notable names pass through, but Otto Porter Jr. is by far the most intriguing name in its orbit. It's not clear he'll actually be cut loose by Orlando, but if the call is ever made, he should immediately shoot atop the wish list for all win-now shoppers.
Drafted third overall in 2013, he perhaps never met the expectations often associated with his draft slot, but he has established himself as a high-level role player—when he can stay healthy.
So long as he stays off of the injury report, he'd give Golden State length, sharpshooting and versatility at either forward spot. There's a scenario in which the 27-year-old could play his way into the franchise's plans beyond this season, though the Dubs would need to factor his injury history into their contract offer.