The Golden State Warriors snagged one of the biggest bargains of free agency last season, and one analyst believes they may have replaced him with another high-value signing.
On the day the 2021-22 season started, the Warriors filled their 15th and final roster spot by signing the well-traveled Gary Payton II. It would be his first extended stay with the NBA team after bouncing around the league for six years and spending long stretches in the G League. The signing would be a boon to the Warriors, as Payton grew into a key member of the rotation and defensive stopper, helping Golden State win its fourth title in the last eight seasons.
With Payton leaving in free agency for a bigger payday from the Portland Trail Blazers, the Warriors filled some of the defensive void by signing wing Donte DiVincenzo to a 2-year, $9.3 million. Kyle Irving of The Sporting News believes it could be another bargain for the Warriors.
“Less than $5 million a year for a 25-year-old guard who was the No. 17 overall pick in the NBA Draft just four years ago? That sounds like it has the potential to be the best value signing of free agency to me.”
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As Irving explained, DiVincenzo was a full-time starter for the Milwaukee Bucks before he was derailed by injuries, averaging 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in his last healthy season. DiVincenzo has proven to be a strong wing defender with a deft shooting touch, averaging 42.0 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
After being traded to the Sacramento Kings at the last trade deadline and struggling in his new home, DiVincenzo’s free-agent stock dipped. But Irving believes he can still rise to the potential he showed in his last healthy season, writing that he has the potential to become the “best value signing of free agency.”
“With an ability to put up over 20 points, grab double-digit rebounds, make plays for others, shoot from the perimeter and lock up defensively, it’s hard not to get excited about what the Warriors’ renowned player development program could do with a player like DiVincenzo,” he wrote.
Warriors Made Strong Pitch to DiVincenzo
After losing Payton along with big man Otto Porter Jr. in free agency, the Warriors made a concerted push to convince DiVincenzo to sign. Warriors veterans Steph Curry and Draymond Green reached out, pitching the idea of joining a team primed to win another title.
“Once I had the conversation with Steph and Draymond, everything kind of slowed down for me a little bit because I got away from the numbers, the dollar signs and everything,” DiVincenzo said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I was more so focused on what is best for Donte and what is best for me going forward. With that culture and environment, it’s something that I want to be a part of and it’s something of who I am.”
DiVincenzo, who helped lead Villanova to two titles in college and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2018, said he wants to win again.
“Each place that I was in that was a winning environment and winning culture, it wasn’t a me team or a me thing and that’s what they emphasized and that’s what I’m going to bring to them,” he said.