Warriors Urged to Make Offseason Play For Grizzlies’ Forward

Bob Myers, Steve Kerr

Getty General manager Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors hugs head coach Steve Kerr after defeating the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Golden State Warriors are world champions, but they aren’t expected to sit still in the coming weeks of NBA free agency.

The Dubs will likely face some difficult decisions on who to bring back into the fold between players like Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr.

However, the franchise is also expected to look beyond its own huddle for additions who can help them repeat in 2022-23. One potential name on the list is forward Kyle Anderson of the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Anderson Worth Investment if Warriors Continue Record Spending

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

GettyDraymond Green (right) of the Golden State Warriors and Kyle Anderson (left) of the Memphis Grizzlies fight for the ball during Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 1, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report on Monday, June 27, laid out an argument urging the Warriors to take a run at Anderson with the taxpayer midlevel exception to bolster their second line, even despite the record amount of money the team is already expected to pay to keep its core in tact in 2022-23.

After winning the title at an already exorbitant price, the Golden State Warriors could spend upward of $500 million on the salaries and luxury-tax payments for the 2022-23 squad.

With that in mind, even if some of this group’s veterans head elsewhere, it’s hard to imagine Golden State spending much more than the minimum on incoming free agents. But if ownership throws even more caution to the wind, a forward like Kyle Anderson on the taxpayer midlevel exception makes a lot of basketball sense.

For years, the Warriors’ primary playmaker off the bench hasn’t looked much like a traditional point guard. Shaun Livingston filled that role at times. Andre Iguodala has, too. And Anderson, who played point guard at UCLA, possesses a lot of traits similar to those two.

He’s an elite defender who’s more concerned with setting up teammates than he is with getting his own. And his ability and willingness to move the ball and himself would make him a seamless fit.

Anderson averaged 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 21.5 minutes per game across 69 regular season appearances for Memphis last year, per Basketball Reference.

Warriors Expected to Offer Looney Contract, Make Payton ‘Priority’

Kevon Looney

GettyKevon Looney (left) of the Golden State Warriors looks to pass the ball against Jayson Tatum (right) of the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on June 2, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

One free agent already tied to the Warriors and expected to return is Looney, who proved crucial as an interior defender and rebounder for Golden State throughout the playoffs, including against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Marc Stein of Substack wrote that teams that had hoped to sign Looney are less and less convinced they will be able to execute those plans.

“There is growing pessimism, league sources say, among teams interested in pursuing Kevon Looney about the ability to pry Looney away from the newly minted champions in Golden State,” Stein wrote. “Looney is increasingly expected to re-sign with the Warriors on a multiyear deal after playing a vital role in their fourth title run in a span of eight seasons.”

The Dubs are also expected to keep first-time All-Star Andrew Wiggins on the roster for the final year of his contract after he also played a crucial role in the team’s success, both in the regular season and during the playoffs. He is owed more than $33.5 million next year. Beyond that, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported before Game 6 of the Finals that both sides are interested in an extension for up to four seasons beyond next year.

The top priority for Golden State this offseason, per Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, is to ink guard Jordan Poole to a long-term extension. Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle said talks on that extension will likely begin at $100 million over four years.

Deveney quoted an NBA executive who said that after Golden State locks up Poole, the franchise will move onto another top priority — bringing back Payton on a multiyear deal.

“After the Poole extension, Payton seems to be the priority there,” Deveney reported. “They want to get him at a reasonable number, of course. If he gets an offer above the mid-level, they can’t keep up with that.”

Payton averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 17.6 minutes per game across 71 regular season appearances last year, per Basketball Reference. He was also one of Golden State’s most reliable perimeter defenders.

Porter has voiced his desire to remain with the Warriors, though he’s generally considered the most likely free agent to move on this offseason.

“I do know that this team can compete again for another championship and it would be a great opportunity if I could stay here,” Porter said after the Dubs’ claimed the title. “It would be amazing to be here with that group of guys again.”

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