Scanning the free-agent market in search of an affordable veteran forward, the Warriors spotted several familiar faces, including Carmelo Anthony, Paul Millsap and Blake Griffin.
The Warriors winced, shrugged and deliberated, opting to wait and see who else might become available.
Their patience is about to pay off, as JaMychal Green reportedly will accept a buyout from the Thunder and upon becoming an unrestricted free agent make his way to the Bay.
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“Everything points to that,” according to one league source.
Which goes back to something Warriors general manager Bob Myers said last month before signing free agent guard Donte DiVincenzo: “We do need to add veterans, and we plan to do that in free agency.”
Though Green’s profile is not as high as Anthony, Millsap or Griffin's, who have a combined 20 All-Star Game selections, he’s the more prudent choice for a team that considers cultural “fit” as much as dry statistics.
As a low-maintenance, high-effort individual, Green is a cultural fit for the Warriors. Moreover, being a good rebounder and defender with a decent 3-point shot also make him a sound basketball fit.
Golden State Warriors
When Otto Porter Jr. headed for the Toronto Raptors after reviving his career with the Warriors, there was a need for an experienced forward capable of playing small-ball center. Such a role is, thanks to Kevon Looney, now a staple of Golden State’s system. One of the requirements is the ability to make a positive impact on offense and defense.
That’s where Green, at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, comes in -- and where Anthony, Griffin and Millsap are eliminated. JaMychal, who turned 32 four weeks ago, is younger and more athletic than the others. More versatile, too.
A backup for most of his eight-year career, Green is a career 36.6 percent shooter from deep but twice topped 40 percent and three other times shot between 37.9 and 40 percent. His career-low 26.6 percentage last season with the Denver Nuggets was among the reasons for the draft-day trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
When the Warriors last summer persuaded Nemanja Bjelica and Porter to sign one-year contracts for the vet-minimum salaries, the general reaction was muted. The returns on those investments were, however, beyond reasonable expectations.
There are reasons the big names remain available. The NBA can see the tail end of Anthony’s career. Griffin has lost most of his once-incredible athleticism. Millsap at this stage of his career would struggle to guard a ball rack.
Green is a not a spectacular addition to the Warriors, but he will fill much of the void created by the departures of Porter and Bjelica. That makes such a deal worthwhile.