The Golden State Warriors have signed Houston Rockets‘ 2021 first-round pick Usman Garuba on a two-way deal, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater.
The Spanish big man joins Dominican-American Lester Quiñones on the Warriors’ two-way slots. They can sign up to three two-way players next season.
The 6-foot-10 Garuba saw limited time in his first two seasons in the NBA with the Rockets, averaging only 2.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 12.2 minutes off the bench across 99 games.
The Rockets traded Garuba, alongside Tyty Washington, to the Atlanta Hawks this offseason. But it did not take long before he was traded again, this time to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the Patty Mills-Rudy Gay swap.
With the surplus of players in the Thunder’s roster, Garuba was waived.
The 21-year-old center played for Spain in the recently concluded FIBA World Cup, averaging 8.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. He ranked third in player efficiency and rebounds with the Spanish national team.
While he is expected to spend most of his time next season in the G League — with the Santa Cruz Warriors under Steve Kerr’s son Nick — Garuba is allowed, as a two-way player, to suit up in the NBA up to 50 regular games. He will serve as insurance for the Warriors at their weakest spot — the center position, which only has Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Dario Saric.
Draymond Green Thought His Warriors Stint Was Over
Doubts lingered on Green’s mind if he could still return to the Warriors next season after the punching incident with his now-former teammate Jordan Poole.
“What gave me doubt is that I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity to redeem myself,” Green told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk earlier this week. “Not [because] that thing necessarily happened. It’s that, do you have an opportunity to make it right, or is that just it? It doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t change that I was at fault. But I’m a human being, and human beings do wrong.”
The Warriors picked him over Poole, who was traded for the 38-year-old, 12-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul. The Warriors signed the 33-year-old Green to a massive four-year, $100 million extension following the stunning trade.
Warriors Can Apply for Exception From NBA Resting Policy
The Warriors can skirt the new NBA Player Participation policy, which aims to curb stars’ load management.
Under the new resting policy, a star is defined as any player who, in any of the prior three seasons, was selected to an All-NBA Team or an NBA All-Star team and the current season’s All-Star Game.
The Warriors have four players — Stephen Curry, Green, Paul and Andrew Wiggins recognized as stars. But there is an exception to the rule, which could benefit the aging Warriors core.
According to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, “The NBA will allow pre-approved designated back-to-back allowances for players who are 35 years old on opening night or have career workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 regular-season and playoff games combined.”
Curry, 35, and Paul, 38, are two of the eight stars who fall under this category.