What comes next for Warriors after a rough start with free agency? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The start of the NBA free agency this year has not been favorable for the Warriors. They have reportedly already lost Gary Payton II to the Portland Trail Blazers and Otto Porter Jr. to the Toronto Raptors, and after Golden State failed to make Juan Toscano-Anderson a qualifying offer, his agent confirmed that he agreed to a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
And at the time of publication, Kevon Looney is still on the open market.
This is no time for panic. As long as the Warriors have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, they will be in a better position than most teams. It can’t hurt to have Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, plus other exciting young talent. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions.
So, where do the Warriors go from here? And what does all this mean?
The starting point should be Looney. He was priority no. 1 goes into low season, and its importance has only grown. Losing three players, including two key rotation pieces from a championship roster, will be missed. All three were also respected voices in the locker room.
Losing Looney would hurt the most.
Despite everything Payton, Porter and Toscano-Anderson brought to the table, the center is the focal point of the Warriors’ defense and the only player in that position on the roster is a 21-year-old recovers from knee injury who has not played an NBA game since April 10, 2021. Keeping Looney is a must.
It won’t be easy to replace what Payton supplied. His combination of a 6-foot-3 guard who can defend multiple positions and the dunker on the attack is unheard of. It would be a group effort to make up for his loss.
A that starts with Moses Moody† together with Jonathan Kuminga† A sane Ryan Rollins thinks he’ll be part of that equation later, and this could also pave a clear path to a roster spot for Quinndary Weatherspoon.
Porter was often referred to as the “perfect warrior” by Steve Kerr this past season. His plus-minus would speak for itself. It always felt like he was the most likely Warriors free agent to leave the off-season, and his loss will be felt as well. It takes two things: a shooting and more minutes for Kuminga.
The return of Nemanja Bjelica would help fill the gap of a veteran big/wing who can clean up the floor. He could reportedly go back to Europe to play abroad. There are still a handful of these on the open market. However, is there the right fit? Beyond Looney’s return, that’s the next challenge for CEO Bob Myers and the rest of the front office right now.
However, it will not be a challenge to find more minutes for Kuminga. A sophomore jump is always part of the plan for a No. 7 overall design pick. Following the promise and potential he showed as a 19-year-old rookie, he is a key part of the Warriors’ success and sees a lot of playing time.
Anyway, it’s non-stop entertainment with Kuminga. This should be fun.
The first job is to make sure Looney doesn’t leave the Bay Area. There are still other gaps to fill, and the future is here with Kuminga and Moody – at the very least.