Changes at the center spot made to accommodate Kevin Durant‘s contract could lead the Warriors’ downfall, Jonny Auping of RealGM.com opines. The Warriors traded starter Andrew Bogut to the Mavericks and lost Festus Ezeli in free agency while signing Zaza Pachulia and retaining Anderson Varejao. Pachulia put up solid stats with the Mavs last season and is noted for his leadership, but his second-half performance was a disaster, Auping continues. He shot just 52.6% in the restricted area after the All-Star break, making him the team’s biggest offensive liability and essentially played himself out of the rotation by the postseason, Auping notes. And at this stage of his career, Varejao is arguably the worst backup center in the league, according to Auping. The offensive limitations of Pachulia and Varejao will allow opponents to double-team one of the Warriors’ stars and defensively, they offer no rim protection, Auping adds.
In other doings around the Western Conference:
- Langston Galloway isn’t sure how the Pelicans will use him in the backcourt, according to John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune. The former Knick, who signed a two-year, 10MM deal with New Orleans, told Reid that coach Alvin Gentry and GM Dell Demps informed him that he could play extensively at both spots. ”So far, getting a chance to meet with Alvin and Dell, we just had a chance to say it’s a great opportunity to work hard and compete at the point guard and off-guard positions,” Galloway said.
- Derrick Favors, Russell Westbrook and Paul George are some of the other players eligible to renegotiate their contracts and receive an extension, as James Harden did this month, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders writes. Any team trying to trade for Westbrook, who can hit the free agent market next July, would probably want him to sign an extension before agreeing to a deal, Pincus continues. Harden’s actual salary over the last three years of his extension won’t be determined until the 2017/18 salary cap is announced, as Pincus details while breaking down all the figures.
- Durant’s restaurant in Oklahoma City will close and open under a new name, part of the fallout from his decision to join the Warriors, Brianna Bailey of The Oklahoman reports.