With free agency around the corner, the Warriors are prepared to make a run at Kevin Durant, the top player on the market. However, the team has plenty of alternate targets lined up in the event that Durant isn’t interested in coming to Golden State.
Sources tell Marcus Thompson II of The Bay Area News Group that the Warriors are eyeing Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Hassan Whiteside as possible frontcourt additions. At small forward, Nicolas Batum and Evan Turner are among the potential targets Golden State is looking at, suggesting that Durant isn’t the only player that would make the club consider replacing pending free agent Harrison Barnes.
As I discussed when I previewed the Warriors’ offseason earlier this week, the team won’t be shy about upgrading the roster via free agency or trades, having vowed to be aggressive this summer. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green aren’t going anywhere, but anyone else on the roster may be expendable for the right incoming piece, and none of Golden State’s eight free agents – including Barnes and Festus Ezeli – are locks to return.
If the team does look to make a big splash, it will have to take into account Curry’s eventual raise. Even with the salary cap on the rise, the Warriors’ roster would start to get expensive if the team signs a max free agent this summer and inks Curry to a max extension a year from now. That scenario could mean paying more than $90MM combined to Curry, Thompson, Green, and a fourth player in 2017/18, with annual raises to follow.
Still, Warriors ownership has exhibited a willingness to spend into tax territory, so they aren’t about to suddenly start playing it safe now. Golden State will certainly be a team to watch when the free agent recruiting period officially gets underway a week from today.