[This piece is the second of two articles from Golden State super fan Lucas Dodson. He explores the changes the team needs to consider, and make, to not only return to the NBA Finals, but to prevail in the postseason. Lucas isn’t content to sit back and bemoan the outcome of Game Seven and the series with the Cavs. He is putting his thoughts to paper on how to make GS one of the great franchises in league history.]
Once the final buzzer sounded, the offseason started where the Warriors have a lot of thinking to do about the team. As I am not a member of the front office, I can’t tell you what they are going to do this offseason, but I will be taking you through what I would do if I were Joe Lacob, Peter Guber, Bob Meyers and all of the front office.
Who To Let Go
- RFA SF Harrison Barnes– Do I really need to elaborate on this? He was atrocious in the playoffs, and despite the Warriors saying they’ll likely match any offer for Barnes, it would be downright dumb to match a max-contract offer for a player that is decent at best. Look for the Lakers or Bucks to be possible destinations for him, as Luke Walton is coaching the Lakers next year and they are in need of a small forward. The Bucks are also a possible destination because of rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo starting to play point guard; Jabari Parker better suited to play power forward; and they will likely get rid of Greg Monroe.
- RFA C Festus Ezeli– As much as I love Festus, they need to let him walk to LA. I’ve talked to him a few times and he’s a great guy: smart, funny, everything you want in a player (as a person). However, he has a terrible basketball IQ, along side with his terrible ability to catch the ball, and his inability to hit any shot that’s not a layup or dunk. Like I said before, the Lakers are also the best destination for Festus. During a period of 18 games that Luke Walton coached, where Andrew Bogut was injured, Ezeli played the best basketball of his life, and that could influence Walton to bring Ezeli to LA where they truly have no decent center.
Who To Keep
- UFA PF/C Marresse Speights– Better known as “Mo Buckets” Speights provides fantastic scoring off the bench, with his superb shooting and passing ability (he played quarterback in high school) Mo was top 3 this year in points per 48 minutes out of big men. Speights also has the ability to stretch the floor for the Warriors, forcing the big man to play him on the perimeter, which leads to guards having the ability to drive to the basket without a shot blocker inside.
- RFA PG/SG Ian Clark– Although Clark doesn’t play often, he made the most of his moments this year, and Clark played amazing when given the opportunity. Much like the aforementioned Mo Buckets, Clark is immediate scoring off the bench and he is the perfect cheerleader as he is an upbeat and fun guy.
- UFA C Anderson Varejao– Energy. Varejao brings energy to any team he plays for with his hustle and finishing ability. Additionally, he is not a bad defender.
- UFA SG Leandro Barbosa– Scoring. He is a fantastic scorer, and is called the “Brazilian Blur” for a reason. Even though his is getting up there in age, Barbosa can still fly up and down the court like few can. Additionally, he is a great shooter and ball handler.
- UFA SG/SF Brandon Rush– He proved valuable in Harrison Barnes’ absence earlier in the year. He also is a reliable scorer off the bench.
- RFA PF/C James-Michael McAdoo- I mean, why not. There is some potential there. He also can play well in spurts.
Who They Need To Sign
- C Joakim Noah– Noah is the center the Warriors truly need, and he would be a perfect fit for the team. Tough. Athletic. Hustle. Strong. Those are all qualities that the Warriors need in a center. He could also take under $10 million in order to play with the Warriors. Although his health is a factor, if you get Bismack Biyombo, we already saw what he can do in a starting role, and also, his health isn’t much worse than Andrew Boguts or Festus Ezelis.
- C Bismack Biyombo or Al Jefferson– Two perfect backup centers. For Biyombo, he showed us what he can do during this years postseason when he got the opportunity to start for the Toronto Raptors, and he beasted and feasted, perfect center for the team, that is if they can afford him. For Al Jefferson, he is tough and strong just like Biyombo and Noah, good old-fashioned post-up scorer. The Warriors haven’t had a post up scorer since David Lee.
Who They Should Think About Signing
- SF/PF/SG Kevin Durant– Do I need to explain? Kevin Durant is f****** amazing.
- C- Pau Gasol– Veteran with a lot of talent left. Pau Gasol would be a perfect fit for the Warriors, as he is a team-first player who is tough and a good rebounder, defender, and scorer. However, it’s a matter of whether he would take a pay cut to play with the Warriors. Who knows, could he take the veterans minimum to play with the Dubs and try to get his 3rd ring?
- PF David West– He could ditch the Spurs and do the same thing he did with them, but with the Dubs, by taking the veterans minimum to try to get a ring. He was linked to Golden State as a possible destination last summer.
- PF/C Dirk Nowitzki– Although Dirk might seem like a good fit, he is very old at 38, and his best years are way behind. He did put up 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds this season but he still has the ability to produce for the Warriors, however likely in a bench role. Also sources say that Warriors management is looking at Dirk this summer.
Players to Trade
- C Andrew Bogut– This is really hard to say as I love Andrew Bogut, but that contract is just way too big. Getting over $10 million a year for someone who produces like Bogut is too much, also that would open up cap space for another free agent to join the team.
It could well be a busy season for the front office. There is a growing fan expectation for excellence and a chance for this team to be one of the truly dominate collection of players in league history.