The Golden State Warriors have been very active after learning of the injury to their star shooting guard Klay Thompson. Looking to round out their training camp roster and prepare the team as best they can, today, they signed former Louisville Cardinals forward Dwayne Sutton per Brett Siegel of NBA Analysis Network.
Sutton is an undrafted rookie and was a three-year player at the University of Lousiville. Prior to being a Cardinal, he attended and played for the University of Asheville during the 2015-16 collegiate season. During the 2016-2017 season, he sat out via a redshirt.
During his senior year at Louisville, Sutton was named an All-ACC Honorable Mention from his competitive replay on both sides of the floor. During that season he averaged 9.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game and shot 50.5% from the field and 35.4% from behind the three-point line. His junior year was slightly better scoring-wise as he averaged 10.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and shot 34.8% from three.
With Sutton’s season-ending early due to the Corona Virus pandemic, the transition to the professional game has been an unexpected one for him. In April, he spoke with Lucas Aulbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal about the process and how he remained confident throughout it.
Trying to find an agent has been strange, he said, — “well, not strange, but different.” It’s a lot of time on the phone and on Zoom with agents. He’ll be signed soon, he said, and looking for a pro team to give him a shot.
“Hopefully I’ll get a job somewhere, anywhere, to play basketball,” he said. “I feel like I can play with the best and I plan on doing that.”
Furthermore, he spoke about the effort he consistently gives when on the court and how valuable that has been to him and his craft.
“I just feel like the plays I make, whether it’s diving on the floor or making the extra pass, they don’t go unnoticed,” Sutton said. “I feel like my teammates do a good job — they respect me. My coaches respect me. … I know it may not get on ESPN, but it’s going to get us in the win column, and I’ll do whatever it takes.”
This type of play, knowing one’s role and playing well within it is the type of production the Warriors will need this upcoming season as they look to supplant the loss of Thompson.
Will Sutton’s Contract Push the Warriors Tax Bill Higher?
Golden State was already going to have a relatively high tax bill before Thompson’s injury with the money they’re paying to him, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins. Unfortunately for them, that bill was pushed even higher with the acquisition of former Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre Jr.’s contract is worth $14.4 million and is being absorbed by the Warriors traded player exception of $17.2 million from their 2019 trade of former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies. Yet still, their tax bill has increased to $134 million. That’s a lot for a team that may no longer be in title contention. Yet general manager Bob Myers has the backing of owner Joe Lacob to spend what he has to in order to ensure the team’s success continues.
“I’m not saying this because (Lacob) is 15 feet away from me,” Myers said during a news conference Thursday. “I’m so lucky to have an owner and ownership group like I have.
“I don’t know if the fans know how lucky they are, but my boss wants to win. My boss has never said, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. And I’d like to thank him for giving myself and our front office the opportunity to be aggressive, because he wants to win.”
While that works great, it still comes down to how much more money Lacob will have to spend on top of their current tax bill. Fortaunetlu for them, Sutton’s contract will not immediately count against the team per Siegel. This leaves the door open for Sutton to prove his worth and earn a two-way contract to also play for the Warriors’ G-League team the Santa Cruz Warriors and keeps a roster spot open in case they find another player to bring into the fold.
Former Los Angeles Laker Signs With Warriors
Among the remaining moves, the team made in the last week one that will pay dividends immediately is the signing of former Los Angeles Laker and former Warriors Kent Bazemore.
Bazemore agreed to a one-year deal with the Warriors in which he is expected to be a contributor off the bench within their second unit. Last season for the Sacramento Kings, he averaged 10.3 points per game, 1.3 steals, 4.3 rebounds, and shot 38% from behind the three-point line.
With his ability to defend both bigger forwards and smaller guards, Bazemore will be a key cog to the Warriors’ plans this upcoming 2020-2021 season. With so much to fill in for with a member of their big 3 gone, the Warriors have thus far done an impressive job of making moves on the margins where it counts.