The Golden State Warriors came into this season as defending champs and looking to secure their fifth NBA title since 2015. That dream, unfortunately, did not become a reality as they got eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs in six games.
The Warriors have proven to be a quality team, but their need for wing players who can both score and defend has been dire for most of the last decade. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report suggests that the Warriors make a deal to sign Phoenix Suns‘ free agent forward Torrey Craig this summer.
“Pick a free agent, any free agent, who’s capable of ranking seventh to ninth in total minutes played on the Golden State Warriors. They are going to be an ambitious target,” Favale writes.
“You can thank the new collective bargaining agreement. Golden State is going to blow by the second luxury-tax apron without some seismic salary-shedding. Among other things, this means the Warriors won’t have access to their mid-level exception. They are, effectively, minimum salary or bust. Torrey Craig is mega ambitious by these standards.”
Torrey Craig Could Add Size to Warriors’ Roster
Size has been an issue for the Warriors’ roster throughout most of their championship runs. That was primarily because head coach Steve Kerr was able to counter the Warriors’ lack of size with his small ball “death lineup” where he could alternate Andre Iguodala to play either power forward or fill in at center. But Iguodala has aged and has not been able to stay on the court consistently because of injuries.
Golden State’s second-round loss to the Lakers came down to size, as the Dubs could not stop the ball from entering the paint, especially LeBron James and Anthony Davis. At 6-foot-7, Craig could be the Warriors’ primary defender on the opponent’s biggest threat.
“Yes, his place inside the Phoenix Suns rotation waned during the playoffs. But Craig started 60 games during the regular season while knocking down 39.7 percent of his threes (4.7 attempts per 36 minutes), party-crashing the offensive glass, and defending across the 2, 3, and 4 spots,” Favale added.
“Some team, somewhere, should be open to throwing most or all of the mini mid-level ($7 million) Craig’s way. But does the chance to play a potentially higher-minute role on the Warriors, who desperately need a combo forward if Jonathan Kuminga isn’t part of the present, make any sort of difference?”
Draymond Green Could Leave Warriors
There is also a lot of uncertainty about the future in Golden State. Two major fixtures during the birth of this Warriors’ dynasty, Bob Meyers and forward Draymond Green, will be free agents this summer.
Green has been one of the catalysts of the stretch five position. Not only can he guard all five positions on the floor, but he is a catalyst of Golden State’s offense, as his ability to initiate fast breaks and create buckets with his playmaking ability has been a major factor in their five championships.
Green has previously stated his desire to stay with the dynasty he helped build, but he also wants his money. And the Warriors already have both Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole on maximum contract deals, with Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins due for extensions as well.
Green is known to have a close relationship with Lakers star LeBron James. Green is represented by James’ agency, Klutch Sports, leaving speculation that he could end up in purple and gold if he and the Warriors’ front office don’t come to an agreement. If Green does depart this summer, Craig could be an ideal replacement for the former Defensive Player of the Year.