Previewing The Golden State Warriors’ Potential Free Agents

by June 09, 2019
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DeMarcus Cousins of the Golden State Warriors

We’re very much in the thick of a fascinating NBA Finals matchup but all good things come to an end and it won’t be long before these two teams face some serious questions in the upcoming offseason.

Here’s a quick rundown of which notable Warriors players could potentially be free agents when the calendar flips to July in a few weeks and what that might entail for the team and the players.

Related: Previewing the Toronto Raptors potential free agents

Jordan Bell, C
Bell hasn’t established himself as the go-to Warriors big man of the future as many may have hoped after a promising rookie campaign but he’s still an intriguing young player with a high ceiling.

Bell will be a restricted free agent this summer, so Golden State will have the opportunity to match any offer he receives on the open market, but that may not be easy given the rest of the free agents that the team will have to make decisions on.

Andrew Bogut, C
The Warriors brought back a familiar face this season when they inked 34-year-old Bogut to fill out their rotation late in the season. Bogut didn’t see much time during the campaign but has been turned to on occasion throughout the playoffs. Any decision regarding Bogut’s future will presumably come once other pieces have fallen into place.

Quinn Cook, PG
The Warriors added Cook in the middle of the 2017-18 campaign and used him as backcourt depth capable of dealing damage on the perimeter not unlike the Splash Brothers ahead of him on the depth chart. Cook has also filled in admirably for Steph Curry over the course of the past two seasons.

The Warriors will be able to extend a relatively cheap qualifying offer to Cook this summer thus putting pressure on other teams to try and poach their restricted free agent with a big offer.

It’s hard to know whether the 26-year-old’s body of work thus far is enough to convince other teams to jump in with a big offer but he’s certainly proved his value to the Warriors and they’d be wise to have him back at a price they can afford.

DeMarcus Cousins, C
Cousins shook the NBA last summer when he announced that he reached out to the Warriors about the possibility of signing with them. Ultimately, due to the Achilles injury that held Cousins out of action until the new year, the Dubs were able to procure the superstar big man’s talents with their taxpayer mid-level exception just north of $5 million.

The mid-level exception allows teams additional space with which to sign free agents, and varies depending on whether a team is below the cap, above the cap or, in Golden State’s case, above the cap and the luxury tax.

Given that the Warriors will not hold Cousins’ Bird rights because he’s only been on their roster for one season, they won’t be able to bring the big man back unless they’re able to sign him using cap space or another exception. Considering that the former won’t be available unless something goes horribly wrong this summer, that leaves the latter.

There’s no guarantee Cousins would return to the Bay Area for another short-term deal considering that he was a max contract candidate in New Orleans prior to his Achilles injury in January 2018 but the quad injury that he suffered in the postseason may have made that more of a reality.

Cousins will have the opportunity to gauge the market this summer and would presumably entertain long-term offers if other teams are willing to extend them. If they don’t, the 28-year-old could return to the Warriors, try his luck at a full, healthy regular season and then cash in next summer.

Kevin Durant, SF
We won’t sit here and try to guess where Durant will end up next season. If you know the answer, hit us up. What we will do is tell you what the superstar will be eligible to earn wherever he chooses to sign a contract this summer.

When Durant turns down his $31.5 million player option for 2019-20, he’ll be eligible to earn a 35% max contract. That’s not because of any designated veteran distinctions (although he’d qualify for those) but rather because of the fact that he’s already logged 10 years of service time.

The Warriors hold Durant’s full Bird rights and as such would be permitted to blow past the salary cap to retain him. They would also be able to offer a fifth season and 8% raises between those seasons. That’s a $220+ million-deal over the course of the next five years, starting at $38 million in 2019-20.

If Durant chooses to sign somewhere other than Golden State, he would still be able to earn a 35% max deal but only for four seasons, with 5% increases between each campaign. For comparison’s sake, that totals around $165 million using a $109 million salary cap projection for next year. (Thanks Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors for the math)

Your guess is as good as anybody’s as to how important that slightly bigger bag will be for Durant this summer but it’s something that the Warriors organization will have to think about given that they’ve already blown past the luxury tax mark in three of the last four seasons.

Jonas Jerebko, PF
Jerebko joined the Warriors as a depth rotation piece on a minimum salary and has done a fine job in the minutes allotted to him. He may be welcomed back on another cheap deal next season or look to parlay his experience on the reigning champions into another deal with a team eager for established veterans.

Kevon Looney, C
Looney has seen his role with the Warriors increase gradually over the course of the past four seasons and will have an opportunity to leverage that – including his production during the 2019 postseason – on the open market this summer.

In most cases, a player in Looney’s situation would be a restricted free agent but the team actually declined his 2018-19 fourth-year option back in the fall of 2017. They ultimately brought the big man back on a one-year deal for this season but that cost them the opportunity to extend a qualifying offer and thus make him restricted.

Looney will have free rein to go out and look for a bigger opportunity but may not find a better situation than what he has with the Warriors. Looney’s fate could be tethered to Cousins’ given the position they share.

Klay Thompson, SG
It’s hard to imagine a Warriors team without the second half of the Splash Brothers but keeping the iconic backcourt together won’t come cheap. Thompson is in the final year of a four-year rookie scale contract extension signed prior to the jump in the salary cap and could now command a substantial raise.

Although Thompson missed out on a shot at a 35% designated veteran extension when it was revealed that he didn’t make an All-NBA team this year, he can still earn a significant 30% max deal with 8% raises over the course of the next five years.

With that math, Thompson could earn just shy of $190 million through the 2023-24 season, including $32 million next year. If Thompson does decide to move on, the most he could earn would be $140 million through 2022-23.