NBA Free Agency

Five NBA free agents who best address Warriors' biggest needs

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the hours lurch toward Sunday afternoon, when the doors officially swing open to the NBA free-agent market, the Warriors are in a position they know better than they would like.

As other teams gaze at big-ticket items, the Warriors, a franchise perpetually kissing the luxury tax, will stroll over to the clearance racks.

Golden State’s experience over the years as minimum-contract shoppers has yielded huge hits (e.g. Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., David West, Zaza Pachulia), reserve contributors (e.g. DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook) and abject misses (e.g. Brad Wanamaker, Willie Cauley-Stein, Omri Casspi).

It must be considered that the Warriors’ two strongest recruiting pitches have weakened in recent years. Their fabled culture has been compromised by Draymond Green’s recent conduct. And they no longer are universally considered a championship favorite.

Any free agent that comes aboard knows his role is to supplement a roster built around Stephen Curry, Green and, possibly, Klay Thompson. He can be the difference between the Warriors making or missing the playoffs.

The Warriors covet shooting. They know it, as does the rest of the NBA. Here are five players, headed toward unrestricted free agency and probably available on minimum contracts that would address that need:

Malik Beasley 

(UFA after one-year contract at $2.7 million vet minimum)

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is an itinerant hired gun, a 38.5-percent career shooter from distance that has worn five different jerseys. He made 77 starts last season in Milwaukee, averaging 11.3 points while shooting 41.3 percent beyond the arc. He’s only 27, but he might be enticed by a return to the Western Conference.

Reggie Bullock Jr.

(UFA after one-year contract at $2 million vet minimum)

An older version of Beasley insofar as he has played for seven teams as a 38.5-percent career shooter beyond the arc. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound wing shot 40.3 percent from deep, mostly on spot-ups, last season as a reserve with the Rockets. He came to Houston after concluding a three-year, $30 million deal with Dallas. At age 33, he still has plenty of triples in his bag.

Eric Gordon

(Reportedly will decline $3.6 million player option)

He’s old (35) and slow and mediocre on defense, but his 3-point shooting (37.1 percent career, 37.8 percent last season) still ranks among the most dangerous in the NBA. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound guard still plays well off the ball – which makes him an easy fit for any team – and most of his shots are from distance. His playoff experience (64 games) is a plus.

Buddy Hield

(UFA, after four-year contract at $94 million)

His total of four playoff games helps explain why his $104 million in career earnings is well beneath that of Gordon ($178 million). At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Hield is a 40-percent career shooter (38.9 last season) from deep. Only 31, he’s a solid option for a team seeking shooters – assuming he understands he no longer commands a hefty salary.

Lonnie Walker IV

(UFA, after one-year contract at $2.3 vet minimum)

A useful reserve capable of lighting it up (38.4 percent beyond the arc last season on Brooklyn), he’s an interesting case in that the Lakers, thirsty for shooters, let him walk in the summer of 2023. This was two months after his 15-point fourth quarter in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals gave LA a 3-1 series lead over the Warriors. They remember.

These five represent only a portion of those who will be on the market.

They could stay in-house and re-sign Lester Quinones, who will be a restricted free agent. They could consider reacquiring UFA Alec Burks, who shot 40.7 percent from deep in 94 games with Detroit before being traded to the Knicks in February. 

One thing for certain is Golden State goes into the weekend knowing its only path to adding a player with All-Star credentials is via trade, as it is not capable of throwing its wallet at a free agent.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

Contact Us