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Reviewing the Golden State Warriors' offseason

Hoops Rumors logo Hoops Rumors 10/22/2018 Eric Spyropoulos, Hoops Rumors
DeMarcus Cousins standing in front of a crowd © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Golden State Warriors.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Kevin Durant: Two years, $61.5M. Second-year player option. Re-signed using Non-Bird rights.
    • DeMarcus Cousins: One year, $5.34M. Signed using taxpayer mid-level exception.
    • Jonas Jerebko: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Kevon Looney: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:
    • Alfonzo McKinnie: Two years, minimum salary. Initially signed a one-year contract, which was converted into a two-way contract before he negotiated a new deal.
    • Will Cherry: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Deyonta Davis: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Danuel House: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Kendrick Nunn: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Tyler Ulis: One year, minimum salary (waived).

Trades:

  • None

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Signed head coach Steve Kerr to contract extension.
  • Hired Mike Dunleavy Jr. as pro scout.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $145M in salary.
  • Projected tax bill of $50.33M.
  • No cap exceptions left besides minimum salary exception.

Check out the Golden State Warriors’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.

Story of the summer:

For the defending champions, the summer was quite eventful, as several key role players were replaced and one big name was added. Of course, that big name is DeMarcus Cousins, the six-time All-Star. Cousins joins the Warriors as he continues to rehab from the torn Achilles that he suffered in January, which will likely keep him out of action for at least the first couple of months of the season.

When he returns, Cousins adds an interesting dynamic to a team that has cruised to back-to-back championships. Throughout this current run, the Warriors have never had a dominant forecourt presence like Cousins can be when healthy. Unlike more traditional back-to-the-basket bigs, Cousins fits with the Warriors’ style of play as someone who can handle the ball and hit 3-pointers. Before going down with the injury last season, Cousins was averaging 5.4 assists and was knocking down 2.2 threes per game.

While Cousins’ skill set fits with how the Warriors are looking to play, there are underlying concerns regarding his ability to accept a small role on a team that knows it can be successful without him. How will Cousins deal with not closing games if the Warriors go small? How does he manage a smaller workload when on the floor with Stephen CurryKevin Durant, and the team’s other All-Stars? The questions surrounding Cousins’ fit with the Warriors add another storyline to the season for the champions.

Underneath the flashy addition of Cousins, the Warriors replaced several role players from last season’s squad, with Jonas Jerebko absorbing frontcourt minutes and Jacob Evans potentially carving out a role in the backcourt. Gone are veterans such as David West, Nick Young and Zaza Pachulia as the Warriors re-tooled around their core.

However, there are still concerns regarding the team’s depth. Behind Curry and Klay Thompson are relatively unproven Quinn Cook, aging Shaun Livingston and the aforementioned Evans. On the wing there really is no depth behind Durant and Andre Iguodala, who will turn 35 years old in January. Up front there are several options to fill the gap until Cousins is ready, but inconsistency has continued to plague the young bigs on the roster.

Regardless, all eyes will be on Golden State when Cousins returns to action. By then, the Warriors may be on cruise control and have a firm grasp on the Western Conference. On the other hand, perhaps the lack of depth and motivation will have them closer to the pack as they approach the best ways to work Cousins into the mix. Regardless, it will surely make the regular season more interesting than it has been in previous years for the Warriors.

Key offseason losses:

When it comes to the Warriors, it’s hard to say if any departing player qualifies as a “key” loss unless he’s part of the club’s famed “Hamptons 5” lineup. However, the team doesn’t boast the same amount of depth across the roster as a result of the moves made this offseason, which can be seen at the guard and wing positions. Sure, Young sometimes didn’t provide much more than entertainment, and Patrick McCaw was still struggling with consistency, but those are two players who could spell the starters for stretches of games.

Additionally, West was quietly one of the best bigs on the team last season — his experience and consistency was a welcome sight in the Warriors’ frontcourt. While the Warriors now have several younger options and Cousins to absorb those minutes, they might miss West’s stabilizing presence.

For a team looking to be at its best come playoff time, having solid depth across the roster is key. And as a result of losing players such as West, Young and McCaw, the Warriors will no longer roll out as deep a roster.

Key offseason additions:

Cousins is the key addition, if only because it remains to be seen how well he will fit in his new potential role. Ideally, the ex-Pelican would bring more shooting, passing and elite scoring to the team in a moderate role, but will that be the case? Only time will tell once he’s able to get back on the floor.

Additionally, Jerebko should see a solid bench role, especially as Steve Kerr focuses on managing his starters’ minutes to preserve them for the playoffs. Jerebko is another veteran presence who brings floor-spacing to a team that quietly needs it. Beyond the Splash Brothers and Durant, the Warriors have very little in the way of shooting in their rotation.

Outlook for 2018/19:

What makes the Cousins addition such a low-risk, high-reward move for the Warriors is the fact that everyone knows they can win without him, which puts the pressure on Cousins to adapt to the team rather than the other way around. It’s all about the playoffs for the Warriors, which likely means they will be on cruise control in the regular season as they look to stay healthy for the playoffs.

While other teams in the West improved in the offseason, the Warriors’ direct competition (Rockets, Thunder, Jazz) didn’t make many moves to inch closer to the defending champs. As a result, the biggest test Golden State faces this season could very well be from the Eastern Conference winners. Still, it’s hard to envision many scenarios in which the Warriors don’t take home their third straight title.

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