Golden State Warriors: A Look Toward the Offseason

June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr speaks to media following the 93-89 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers following game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr speaks to media following the 93-89 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers following game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The offseason is upon us, and the Golden State Warriors figure to be very busy during the hot summer months.

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The Golden State Warriors went from the highest of highs, winning a record-breaking 73 regular season games and being close enough to the Larry O’Brien trophy to smell it, to the lowest of lows, watching the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate their city’s first championship in any sport in many of their fans’ lifetimes. While the players and fans will certainly lament what could have been, the offseason is here and that means there’s work to be done.

Come the 2016-2017 season, the Warriors’ roster could look entirely different from the one that took the court this season. Eight Warriors’ players could potentially be wearing new uniforms next year. Luckily, most of the team’s main cogs are under contract, as two-time Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, two-time All-Star Klay Thompson, Mr. Do-It-All Draymond Green, and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala will all be back. However, Curry and Iguodala are entering the final year of their respective deals.

Most notably, Harrison Barnes is a restricted free agent. The team can extend him a qualifying offer, and they have the right to match any contract he signs with another team. He was offered a large contract last offseason, but turned it down as he took a chance on himself. Maybe that’s a good thing for Golden State. Barnes all but disappeared for long stretches this past season, and the Warriors could very well be prepared for life post-Barnes.

Marreese Speights played a pivotal role off the bench for the Warriors, and is an unrestricted free agent. He played about 12 minutes per game and averaged just over seven points per contest, and proved that he can splash a little bit too, shooting a career-best 38.7 percent from three-point range.

Leandro Barbosa was another key member of the bench mob, as the “Brazilian Blur” scored 6.4 points in about 16 minutes per game over 68 games (all off the bench). Barbosa is also an unrestricted free agent. Backup big man Festus Ezeli is a restricted free agent, so the team will have a chance to match any deal another team extends him, but will another team be willing to spend starter’s money on Ezeli? If they do, the Warriors would almost certainly let him walk, given his injury history and inconsistent play.

Another backup big man who is a restricted free agent is James Michael McAdoo. He has been a project player for the Warriors, but found his way into 41 games this past season, including starting once. He averaged 2.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in under seven minutes per game.

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Ian Clark is yet another restricted free agent. After snatching the final roster spot to start the season, he proved he had some value. In 66 games and one start, Clark scored 3.6 points and added a rebound and assist in about nine minutes per game. He showed he can make the deep ball as well, shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. It should be noted that most of his minutes came in mop-up duty, but if the Warriors can’t bring back some of their other guards, could he take on a larger role?

Anderson Varejao, a mid-season acquisition, is an unrestricted free agent. His minutes were downright painful at points this season, especially in the playoffs, and it would be a big surprise if he’s wearing the blue and yellow next season. Last but not least, there’s Brandon Rush, who is also unrestricted. He soon-to-be 31-year-old played 72 games for the Warriors last season, including 25 starts, and scored 4.2 per game and grabbed 2.5 rebounds in about 15 minutes.

Rumors about free agents the Warriors could sign are already floating around. Kevin Durant has been linked to Golden State for months, and plenty of fans are salivating at the thought of the Oklahoma City Thunders’ ultra-talented superstar playing with Curry and Thompson. If the Warriors are serious about that (which, let’s be honest, they probably really aren’t), they would have to pony up some really serious dough that could eat into the Curry fund.

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Apr 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) argues a call with the referees during the second half against the Houston Rockets at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Rockets 88-86. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s also the Dirk Nowitzki reports, which popped up less than 24 hours after the Warriors game seven loss. The Warriors are supposedly interested in bringing in the seven-foot sharpshooter, which is a surprising turn of events, to say the least. Nowitzki turned 38 years old on Sunday, but is coming off another fine season, averaging 18.3 points in 75 games during his 18th season with the Dallas Mavericks. Could Nowitzki get one last, multi-year contract from the Warriors? Could he leave his long-time home for a one-year deal? That’s something to ponder.

But if you’re missing Warriors’ basketball, you can catch at least one of them playing on Olympic Team USA. Green and Thompson are said to be locks to make the team USA roster in Rio. Klay is “undecided” on if he will play, but Green is ready to suit up for the red, white, and blue. Curry will also take the time to rest and recuperate during the summer.

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The Warriors fell short in their pursuit this postseason, but there is plenty on the to-do list this offseason. Things should start getting interesting very soon.