The Warriors made several roster cuts late on Friday night following their final preseason game, announcing in a press release that they’ve cut guards Gary Payton II, Avery Bradley, and Mychal Mulder, as well as big man Jordan Bell.
The four players had been vying for the 15th spot on Golden State’s regular season roster. Instead, it seems the team has decided to keep that spot open — at least for now.
As Anthony Slater of The Athletic explains, if the Warriors had decided to carry a 15th man, it almost certainly would’ve been Payton. In fact, there’s a possibility the club could bring back the 28-year-old on a new deal if he clears waivers, according to Slater.
The language in Payton’s contract called for him to receive a $659K partial guarantee if he had made the opening-night roster. The Warriors, who are far over the luxury tax line, would face a tax penalty worth several million dollars if they were to commit to that partial guarantee, which they weren’t prepared to do.
According to Slater, if Golden State re-signs Payton, it would likely be to a non-guaranteed deal that doesn’t include any trigger dates, so the team would essentially be paying the guard by the day until the league-wide guarantee date in January.
Bradley, Mulder, and Bell, meanwhile, figure to be on the lookout for new jobs if and when they clear waivers on Monday. All three players have multiple years of NBA experience on their résumés and Bradley, in particular, will be among the more accomplished veterans hitting the market this week. However, many teams around the NBA don’t have the flexibility – or the desire – to make last-minute additions to their 15-man regular season rosters.
It’s worth noting that Golden State does still have an open two-way contract slot. However, of the four players released today, only Mulder qualifies to sign a two-way deal. Perhaps that’s a possibility if he goes unclaimed on waivers.
In addition to their four cuts, the Warriors also announced that they’ve signed free agent forward Axel Toupane. That move was almost certainly made for G League purposes — Toupane will likely be cut on Saturday.