Kerr doesn't anticipate Warriors adding through buyout market


SAN FRANCISCO – Calls from fans urging the Warriors to explore the NBA buyout market in hopes of adding a big man are heard but almost certainly won’t be heeded.

That has been the message from every level of the franchise for weeks, and coach Steve Kerr amplified it on Wednesday.

“That player is not out there, for sure,” he said. “And our issues go way beyond just not having enough size. When we’re getting beat at the point of attack over and over again, that has nothing to do with our center position.

“Right now, the way we’re playing, it’s back cuts, it’s transition, it’s point-of-attack stuff. All those things expose the lack of size at the rim.”

To emphasize his point, Kerr on Wednesday addressed the issue by inserting defensive ace Gary Payton II into the starting lineup for the first time in five weeks. He’ll join Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney in the lineup that opens against the Nuggets at Chase Center.

The Warriors have five players who can fill the center role, but two of them, Draymond Green and James Wiseman, are not available. Wiseman has advanced to 5-on-5 activity, meaning his return should be a matter of weeks. Green projects to be out for another month or more – and, boy, is he missed.

“Even the first 10-12 games without Draymond, our defense held up really well,” Kerr said. “I just see slippage more than anything.

“Generally speaking, if a guy that good is out there, he’s not on the buyout market. Somebody would’ve already snapped him up, via trade, or somebody wouldn’t have let him go in the first place.”

Though the Warriors still rank No. 1 in defensive rating (104.4), the gap is closing. The surging Celtics are second (104.8), followed by the Suns (105.2), who have the best record in the league.

More to the point, the Warriors are 10th (109.7) since Draymond was sidelined on Jan. 9 and they’re 18th (115.0) over the last five games, three of which they lost.

The big men expected to be available before the March 1 deadline for postseason availability – Derrick Favors, DeAndre Jordan, Robin Lopez and Tristan Thompson are popular names – are all playing sparingly on their current teams.

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Which is why the Warriors believe their best solutions are on the roster.

“I really don’t think it’s a matter of replacing Draymond or James with a big,” Kerr said. “It’s about us finding our energy and our collective will defensively and then getting those guys back hopefully soon.”

So don’t expect the Warriors to shop the buyout market — unless something catastrophic were to occur.

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