The acquisition of Kevin Durant was certainly the bigger splash, but the Warriors’ offseason signing of Zaza Pachulia irritated rival executives nearly as much, due to the discount the big man took to join the Dubs. As many of his fellow veteran free agents landed massive multiyear deals, Pachulia signed with Golden State on a one-year, $2.9MM contract, and he hasn’t regretted that decision. As he tells Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle, Pachulia hopes to extend his stay in the Bay Area beyond this season.
“I don’t want the season to end,” Pachulia said. “When people ask me about (free agency) this summer, I say, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying here.’ Even after June, I’m staying here.”
After recording a career-high 9.4 RPG to go along with 8.6 PPG in 76 games with Dallas last season, Pachulia has seen his role reduced a little in Golden State — he’s playing just 18.8 minutes per game, his lowest mark since 2010/11. Still, his field goal percentage is a career-best 52.7%, and he has started each of the 44 games he has played for the Warriors. And even if his raw numbers aren’t impressive, Pachulia is thrilled to be a member of the NBA’s top team.
“Winning means so much,” Pachulia said. “Being around this amazing group of guys, this coaching staff, front office, the fans, it means a lot. This is a huge, huge experience for me.”
With Durant and Stephen Curry both up for new contracts this summer, and the salary cap not expected to jump as substantially as it did in 2016, the Warriors may find it tricky to retain all their complementary players. If the club does want to re-sign Pachulia, he may need to accept another modest, short-term deal.