Warriors: 3 free agent centers to target in the offseason

Warriors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Warriors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Warriors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Golden State Warriors are preparing for their offseason strategy. Center is not a deep position in free agency, but there are some options available.

Currently, the Golden State Warriors have Marquese Chriss and Kevon Looney penciled in as the team’s only big men. Given Chriss’ relative inexperience and Looney’s extensive injury history, the Warriors will look to add depth through free agency.

With that being said, the 6-foot-9 Chriss has been a pleasant surprise this season. Across 59 games, including 21 starts, he has posted 9.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.1 BPG while shooting 55 percent from the field.

In a mild surprise, the Warriors cut the big man loose earlier this season to create a roster space for point guard Damion Lee. However, to the Warriors benefit, Chriss went unclaimed, and Golden State was able to bring back the University of Washington product.

Chriss proved that he might just be the type of center the Warriors need once the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins is back on the court.

On the other hand, Looney has spent plenty of time on the shelf in his career. The UCLA product has only appeared in 20 games this season as he has battled a bothersome hip. In addition to this, he was diagnosed with neuropathy last October.

Unlike Chriss, Looney does not bring much scoring ability to the table. The Warriors do not necessarily need it, but it would give them an additional option on the floor.

However, he brings a strong defensive presence and high basketball IQ. These are the skills that led head coach Steve Kerr to identify Looney as a “foundational piece.”

Chriss and Looney bring different qualities to the table. This gives the team a little extra versatility to mix-and-match either center depending on the opponent.

Though, the Warriors will need to add another center for depth as there is a lack of predictability in either Chriss or Looney’s future performance. Adding one more center will give the team an additional option that Kerr can utilize based on the opponents.

Given that the Warriors already have $129 million committed to Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, and Green, their spending ability in free agency is limited. It is likely that any prospective center they target will need to take a pay cut.

Among the potential free-agent centers who will be available, Marc Gasol, Nerlens Noel, and Tristan Thompson should be options for the Warriors pursue.