Warriors Make Strong Commitment to New Veteran

Steve Kerr, left, and owner Joe Lacob of the Warriors

Getty Steve Kerr, left, and owner Joe Lacob of the Warriors

The Warriors leaped when the opportunity to sign veteran NBA free-agent big man JaMychal Green presented itself last month, after the Oklahoma City Thunder bought him out following a trade with his former team, the Nuggets. In fact, Golden State left Green with no doubt of its commitment to him for the upcoming season, granting him a guaranteed contract for the whole year.

Green will make $2.63 million next season, all guaranteed according to Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype.

Because Green is a veteran, though, not all of that money will count against the Warriors and their payroll. Only $1.84 million of his contract will be tallied against Golden State for salary and luxury-tax purposes, a wrinkle in the NBA rules that encourages teams to sign veterans to minimum contracts and not just search for cheaper, younger options.

Green is 32 years old and averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.2 minutes for Denver last season. He was primarily a power forward, though he played some small-ball center, too. He will back up Draymond Green and primarily replace forward Otto Porter Jr., who averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds for Golden State last year, but signed with the Raptors in the offseason.

Steve Kerr Persuaded Green to Sign With Warriors

The Warriors were able to snag Green from another contender that was pursuing Green, who said he was getting ready to sign with that team before he got a call from Golden State coach Steve Kerr. Kerr sold Green on his fit with the Warriors.

“After talking to him, I just couldn’t tell him no,” Green said during his introductory press conference this week. “With the organization and what they built over here, I just felt that I’d love to be part of it.”

Green also said he knows that coming to Golden State has a way of rejuvenating careers. That was evident this summer when Porter signed a two-year, $12.4 million contract a year after taking a minimum deal from the Warriors. Gary Payton II also was on a minimum deal with Golden State last year, and turned that into a three-year, $29 million deal with Portland this summer.

“(Kerr) just told me they were interested, he wanted me here, he wanted me to be part of the program,” Green said.” I got on the phone with Draymond, we been knowing each other since eighth grade, so it wasn’t a hard decision. I feel like if you come here and handle business, you set yourself up for life. Just happy to be here.”

Replacing Last Year’s Role Players Difficult

While Green can be seen as a Porter replacement, there has been no real replacement brought in for Payton, an ace defensive stopper who also could change the contours of a game with his electrifying dunking ability. The Warriors also lost Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damion Lee, though they played limited roles for the team.

Replacing Payton could come to one of the promising second-year standouts, Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody, each of whom has a high ceiling with the team. Donte DiVincenzo will also pick up that slack.

The Warriors must also fill the Nemanja Bjelica role, after he surprisingly bolted for Europe and a contract with the Turkish team Fenerbahce Beko. Bjelica was the backup for center Kevon Looney, a role that will now go to James Wiseman, at least if he can stay healthy.

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