The Warriors have mostly completed their offseason, with a ledger of moves that leaves them poised to again compete for an NBA championship this season. They drafted Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, added guard Donte DiVincenzo and forward JaMychal Green, while losing Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica. They have 13 players now under contract.
They could yet have a hole to fill, and ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks, who was an assistant GM with the Brooklyn Nets, has a thought on how to fill it: future Hall-of-Fame center Dwight Howard, who is an eight-time All-Star and a two-time blocked-shot champ.
Marks said that other contenders might have eyes for Howard, but that he would make sense for the Warriors—under certain circumstances.
“On paper, the answer is Brooklyn, but the likelihood is that we see Ben Simmons playing the majority of minutes at center,” Marks wrote of Howard’s future. “The Nets also have Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe in a backup role. Golden State could use Howard but only if James Wiseman suffers a setback and Andre Iguodala retires. The Clippers need size, but because of tax implications, they will likely not carry 15 guaranteed contracts to start the season.”
Howard Fits if Wiseman Is Not Ready
Howard is 36 now, far removed from his days as one of the NBA’s most dominant players. He remains a free agent this summer after playing last year with the Lakers, his third stint with that team, where he averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 16.2 minutes.
That’s about all the Warriors need from a backup center with their style of play. Last season, Golden State used starter Kevon Looney for 21.1 minutes per game at the position, played backup Nemanja Bjelica for 16.1 minutes and filled in the rest with Draymond Green and Porter as small-ball centers.
This year, Porter is gone but JaMychal Green figures to take his small-ball minutes in the middle. Howard could be an option to fill the gaps.
Of course, the ideal situation is to have Wiseman come back from the frustrating knee injury that had him moving constantly toward a return last year, only never quite able to get back on the court for Golden State. That’s another of Marks’ caveats—if Wiseman plays well, Howard would not be needed.
Warriors Have Rebuffed All Wiseman Inquiries
Wiseman was the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, and the Warriors still have much invested in his development. He averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds as a rookie, playing 21.4 minutes for an injury-depleted Warriors team, before suffering his knee injury.
He has been the subject of trade inquiries repeatedly over the past years, but as Heavy Sports NBA insider Steve Bulpett said, the Warriors have no plans to move him. If he’s healthy, he will be their guy.
“They’re confident he is fine, and I wouldn’t let anyone within five miles of him, you know?” Bulpett said in a video interview. “If someone calls and says they’re interested in Ja—I am hanging up the phone. Don’t even get the whole name out. This guy can be a beast. Big body, good movement, good touch, all those things. He has a chance to be a major, major player. They went through their bad fortune times to get a guy like this who they never would have gotten. If you look at Golden State and say, OK, what hole do they have there in their lineup? Well, they don’t have the dominant big-guy type. This guy can be that.
“Is he going to be healthy? If he is, yeah, you wrap your arms around him, you call him every night and tell him you love him and you’re never going to let him go away.”