Dario Saric

Warriors Notes: McGee, Toscano-Anderson, Saric, Weems

The Warriors should consider a reunion with JaVale McGee once he gets waived by the Mavericks, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Dallas reportedly plans to use the stretch provision on the remainder of McGee’s contract, so he would have to be let go before the deadline to do that arrives at the end of the month.

The 35-year-old center spent two seasons with Golden State and was part of title-winning teams in 2017 and 2018. Although he averaged less than 10 minutes per game in both years, he made valuable contributions as a rebounder and rim protector off the bench.

Johnson points out that McGee would be the only seven-footer on a roster that needs size, and his understanding of the team’s culture could give him an edge in filling one of the final spots. With Kevon Looney and Draymond Green handling most of the minutes at center, McGee wouldn’t have to play extensively and he could help tutor young players such as Trayce Jackson-Davis.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Former Golden State players Juan Toscano-Anderson and Kent Bazemore are part of a group that was scheduled to work out for the team this month. If the Warriors are planning to bring back someone who has played for coach Steve Kerr, Johnson sees Toscano-Anderson as the best candidate because he’s younger and more versatile than Bazemore or McGee.
  • Dario Saric‘s performance in helping Croatia win an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament demonstrated why he was Golden State’s top free agent target this summer, Johnson adds in a separate story. Saric posted 22 points and 11 rebounds in the final game, and Johnson notes that he looked like a perfect fit for Kerr’s system. He seems fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in the 2021 NBA Finals, and he had plenty of experience running the two-man game with new Warriors guard Chris Paul in Phoenix.
  • Newly promoted assistant coach Kris Weems will have a large role in determining how successful Paul will be in his first year with the team, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Weems, who was promoted to the front of the bench after two years as a player development coach, replaces Jama Mahlalela, who was responsible for determining who was on the court at any given time.

International Notes: Serbia, Bahamas, Gordon, Croatia

The Serbian national team has officially announced its 12-man roster for the 2023 World Cup, which tips off on Friday (Twitter link). The Serbians are missing star center Nikola Jokic, along with accomplished veteran guard Vasilije Micic, who made the move from the EuroLeague to the NBA this offseason.

However, the squad still features multiple current and former NBA players, starting with Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic. Heat forward Nikola Jovic, Sixers big man Filip Petrusev, and former Grizzlies guard Marko Guduric are among the notable players representing Serbia at this year’s World Cup.

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • The Bahmas defeated Argentina on Sunday in the final of an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament, with Suns guard Eric Gordon scoring a game-high 27 points, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Following the Bahamian victory, former NBA forward Andres Nocioni – who won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in 2004 – questioned whether it was fair for FIBA to allow Gordon to suit up for the Bahamas despite representing Team USA earlier in his international career (Twitter link). “Let’s not lose the essence of international competitions,” Nocioni added in a follow-up tweet.
  • A Croatian team led by Warriors forward Dario Saric and Clippers center Ivica Zubac scored an upset victory over Alperen Sengun and Turkey in the final of another Olympic pre-qualifying tournament on Sunday, as Eurohoops details. Croatia, the Bahamas, Cameroon, Poland, and Bahrain won this month’s pre-qualifying tournament to secure spots in next year’s Olympic qualifiers.
  • Vangelis Papadimitriou of Eurohoops highlights a handful of non-U.S. NBA players who could be difference-makers in this year’s World Cup, including Canadian forward RJ Barrett and Dominican big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

Warriors Sign Dario Saric To One-Year Deal

JULY 12: Saric is officially a Warrior, the team announced (via Twitter).

JULY 8: The Warriors and free agent forward Dario Saric have reached an agreement on a one-year contract, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While Wojnarowski doesn’t specify the financial terms, the Warriors’ cap situation means they’re limited to minimum-salary offers for free agents who weren’t with the team last season. As a seven-year veteran, Saric will earn $2,709,849 on a minimum deal, while Golden State will take on a cap hit of $2,019,706.

Saric missed the entire 2021/22 season due to an ACL tear, but returned to action this past season. He appeared in 37 contests for Phoenix and – following a trade-deadline deal – 20 for Oklahoma City, averaging 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game with a shooting line of .458/.391/.829.

A 6’10” forward who has made 36.0% of his career three-pointers, Saric is known for his ability to stretch the floor from the frontcourt. In Golden State, he may take on a role similar to the one JaMychal Green played this past year.

The Warriors were named by multiple reporters as Saric’s most likely landing spot in the hours leading up to free agency last week. Marc Stein indicated on Friday that the 29-year-old may have been waiting to see if offers worth more than the veteran’s minimum materialized before agreeing to join Golden State.

With Saric and Draymond Green set to officially sign contracts, the Warriors’ roster count is up to 13 players on standard contracts. That leaves two openings on the 15-man roster and three available two-way slots.

The club may just roll with 14 players on standard deals to open the 2023/24 season for financial and flexibility reasons. Lester Quinones is a good candidate to return in some form — he’s a restricted free agent after being issued a two-way qualifying offer.

Pacific Notes: Saric, Joseph, Duarte, Castleton, U’Ren

Adding Dario Saric was a high priority for the Warriors and new general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. snared the 6’10” Saric on a still unofficial one-year veteran’s minimum contract. Dunleavy believes Saric is a great fit, giving the club a big man who can space the floor, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area writes.

“We’ve had a lot of success signing guys who probably should make more than the minimum and have been able to come in and help our team,” Dunleavy said.

Golden State may bring in another big man to fill another roster spot or on a two-way, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

The Warriors also added Cory Joseph on a one-year contract as a backup point guard to Stephen Curry and Chris Paul. Joseph spent the last few seasons with the Pistons.

“He’s a guy who’s going to be willing to come in and do whatever it takes each and every day. Chris and Steph will see a lot of the minutes at point guard, but Cory will always stay ready,” Dunleavy said. “He was excited to sign here and we’re excited to have him.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chris Duarte said he was caught off guard when the Pacers traded him to the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “I was surprised,” Duarte said. “I was at home with the family when I received a call. This is how the business works. … This is a great team, great franchise, great fan base. I’ve seen videos of how loud the fans get, so I love that.” The Kings gave up two second-round picks for Duarte, who battled an ankle injury last season.
  • Colin Castleton is making a good impression on the Lakers’ Summer League team, Sean Deveney of Heavy.com notes. Castleton, who had 21 points, 14 rebounds and three assists during their second game on Sunday against the Hornets, is on a two-way contract. “I wanted to develop my first year, learn from the best players in the world, which they have, a great organization from the front office to the coaches, everybody there is great,” the big man said.
  • The Warriors lost an executive to the WNBA. The Phoenix Mercury are hiring Nick U’Ren as their GM, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes. U’Ren had been Golden State’s executive director of basketball operations. He’ll begin his GM duties after the Mercury’s season ends.

Lakers Considering Christian Wood, Bismack Biyombo In Search For Backup Big Man

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said the team hopes to add another big man this summer, and sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic that Christian Wood and Bismack Biyombo are among the names under consideration.

L.A. also had interest in Dario Saric before he signed with the Warriors over the weekend, Buha adds.

The Lakers already picked up former Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes on a two-year deal. During a session with reporters on Sunday, Pelinka indicated that the team plans to use more two-big lineups, which were effective during its championship run in 2020.

“I think adding Jaxson Hayes was key to that,” Pelinka said. “I think Jaxson, much like maybe Dwight Howard in that stretch for us: big body, rim protector, active roller. … But we are looking to add an additional center as well.”

Hayes received a minimum-salary contract with a player option for the second season. Whoever else the Lakers add will probably get the same type of deal, although Buha notes that L.A. has some flexibility because it didn’t use its full non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Gabe Vincent.

Vincent’s salary for next season is projected at $10.5MM, about $1.9MM below the MLE, allowing the Lakers to use the remaining money for another roster addition, either during the summer or later on. At this point, $1.9MM is below the minimum salary for a veteran player, but that won’t be the case later in the season when minimum deals are prorated.

“With the new CBA, eventually, you’re able to use the mid-level tool even for trades,” Pelinka said. “Not quite yet. But we were intentional about keeping some space and using that. It could come in handy. For instance, in the buyout market.”

In addition to Hayes and Vincent, the Lakers signed Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish this offseason and drafted Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis. That leaves the team with 13 players, and the plan is to carry 14 when the season begins.

Wood, an offensive-minded big man, averaged 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Mavericks last season. Biyombo, who spent the past two years as a backup with the Suns, is more of a rim protector and rebounder with a limited offensive game.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Draymond, Saric, Paul, Myers

A galvanizing Stephen Curry speech made to rally his Warriors ahead of an eventual Game 7 victory against the Kings in this year’s first round informed the team’s eventual summer ethos, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

Kawakami argues that all of the team’s front office moves since that moment, as conducted by new GM Mike Dunleavy Jr., stem from its impact. Golden State’s offseason thus far has been highlighted by its decisions to re-sign All-Defensive big man Draymond Green, move on from pricey sixth man Jordan Poole in favor of a potential one-year Chris Paul rental, and generally lean on veteran depth a bit more than the club did last year.

There’s more out of Golden State:

  • Head coach Steve Kerr is relishing the chance to coach Green again on the Warriors this season, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “We’re really excited to have Draymond back,” Kerr said. “Given that he plays so well with Steph and Klay [Thompson], it was really a no-brainer to try to bring him back.”
  • The Warriors also made a move to shore up their front line, agreeing to sign veteran floor-spacing big man Dario Saric to a one-year, minimum deal. Anthony Slater of The Athletic and Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area consider the 6’10” vet to be a decent bench defender in addition to his three-point shooting abilities.
  • In a conversation on the flagship ESPN program SportsCenter (YouTube video link), Curry reflected on the addition of longtime rival Paul onto the team’s roster, as well as the subtraction of longtime GM Bob Myers, who left the Warriors this summer.

Stein’s Latest: Wood, Saric, Bol, Mavs, Pelicans, Reed

Christian Wood and Dario Saric are two of the top unrestricted free agents who have yet to find new teams. There’s a good reason for that, according to Marc Stein at Substack: Both big men have only received contract offers for the veteran’s minimum thus far and are presumably looking for more money.

Stein says Saric will likely land with the Warriors if he’s unable to find a higher-paying offer. The Croatian big man is reportedly Golden State’s top remaining target.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Magic released Bol Bol on Tuesday and he cleared the waiver wire despite having a relatively modest $2.2MM salary. The Suns have a “level of interest” in the 7’2″ big man, according to Stein. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM said on Thursday (via Twitter) that he believed Phoenix might “take a hard look” at potentially signing Bol. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported when Bol was waived that the Suns contemplated trading for him on the night of last month’s draft.
  • The Mavericks aren’t done reshaping their roster this offseason, Stein reports. Dallas is expected to trade Tim Hardaway Jr. at some point, with JaVale McGee another candidate to be on the move, whether it’s via trade or being waived. Stein also hears Theo Pinson‘s time with the Mavs is likely over. The veteran guard remains an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Pelicans are just above the luxury tax threshold and have reportedly been active in trade talks for weeks. Like Fischer, Stein hears New Orleans is shopping guard Kira Lewis Jr. and center Jonas Valanciunas, with Lewis’ name surfacing more frequently in recent days. The Pelicans also unsuccessfully attempted to pry Jarrett Allen away from the Cavaliers, according to Stein.
  • There hasn’t been much buzz about possible offer sheets for restricted free agent Paul Reed, but Stein writes that the Jazz are worth monitoring. However, the Sixers are reportedly keen on retaining Reed, so it’s unclear if that might work out for Utah. The Jazz also already have several frontcourt players, so Reed would be a bit of an odd fit from a roster standpoint.

Contract/Cap Notes: Middleton, Lopez, C. Johnson, Watanabe, More

The three-year contract Khris Middleton signed with the Bucks only has a base value of about $93MM, well below the reported figure of $102MM, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

As Marks explains, the deal features approximately $9MM in total incentives — $2MM are currently considered likely to be earned, while the other $7MM are unlikely (meaning Middleton and/or the Bucks didn’t achieve the criteria last season). For now, the forward’s annual cap hits, which take into account his base salaries and likely incentives, will be $29.3MM, $31.7MM, and $34MM.

Meanwhile, Brook Lopez‘s two-year, $48MM contract with the Bucks has a declining structure, according to Marks. The veteran center will earn $25MM in 2023/24 and $23MM in ’24/25.

Here are a few more contract and cap details from around the NBA:

  • Marks also has the specifics (via Twitter) on Cameron Johnson‘s four-year contract with the Nets, which includes several incentives and declines in years two and three before rising again in year four. Johnson has base salaries of $24.5MM, $22.5MM, $20.5MM, and $22.5MM, with annual bonuses of $4.9MM, $4.5MM, $4.1MM, and $4.5MM. Currently, a total of $4.4MM of those incentives are considered likely, while the other $13.6MM are unlikely.
  • The Sunsdeal with Yuta Watanabe is a two-year, minimum-salary agreement with a second-year player option, confirms Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). That was the common structure on the contracts Phoenix offered to free agents — Eric Gordon, Keita Bates-Diop, and Drew Eubanks received similar deals.
  • A pair of two-way contracts that have been signed early in the 2023/24 league year will cover two seasons instead of just one. Craig Porter‘s deal with the Cavaliers and Jaylen Martin‘s agreement with the Knicks are each for two years, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links).
  • A handful of teams using cap room this season have renounced their free agent rights to one or more players in order to maximize their space. According to RealGM’s transaction log, the Pacers (George Hill), Kings (Terence Davis, Jeremy Lamb, Corey Brewer), Pistons (Hamidou Diallo, Rodney McGruder, and Buddy Boeheim), and Thunder (eight players, including Dario Saric, Jared Butler, and Nick Collison) all renounced players. In some cases, those cap holds had been on teams’ books for multiple seasons — they won’t be there going forward.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Warriors, Saric, Lakers’ Moves, Carroll

The Suns’ willingness to give numerous free agents a two-year deal with a player option has helped them trump the Warriors in the free agent market, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic explains.

Golden State has been unwilling to provide minimum-salary offers with a second optional year due to luxury tax implications and the risk of committing a 2024/25 roster spot to a signee who didn’t work out. The Suns also had more playing time available and those factors helped sway Eric Gordon, who was the Warriors’ top backcourt target in free agency.

The Warriors are planning to go with a 14-man roster and have two slots open, which they intend to use on bigs, Slater writes. Power forward Dario Saric remains their top target still on the board.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Athletic’s John Hollinger gives the Suns high marks for their free agent catches, including a couple of underrated players in Keita Bates-Diop and Drew Eubanks. Bates-Diop, who previously played for the Spurs, could emerge as a key role player in the postseason, since he can guard multiple positions and shoots reasonably well from long distance. Eubanks is an energetic backup center who’s a superior rim protector and defender than Jock Landale, whom the Suns let go.
  • The Lakers‘ front office made a series of shrewd moves this summer, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines. The Lakers’ didn’t chase another star, as they have in the past. Instead, they re-signed Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura and signed two other solid players in Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince, rather than trying to sign Kyrie Irving or trade for Bradley Beal.
  • DeMarre Carroll is joining the Lakers as an assistant coach, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets. Carroll was an assistant on Mike Budenholzer‘s staff with the Bucks last season and now will join Darvin Ham‘s staff. Carroll played for the Hawks when Budenholzer was the head coach there and Ham was one of the assistants.

Fischer’s Latest: Lillard, Harden, Saric, Christopher, N. Powell

After a busy first two days of free agency on Friday and Saturday, the pace has slowed down on Sunday and Monday, with minimum-salary deals, rookie agreements, and two-way signings dominating headlines at Hoops Rumors.

While that shift is partly due to the fact that most of this year’s top free agents have come off the board, it’s also related to the trade requests submitted by Damian Lillard and James Harden, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who suggests that neither the Trail Blazers nor the Sixers are in a rush to make a deal. Some areas of the free agency market may be on hold until those situations are resolved, Fischer explains.

For instance, the Heat – who are Lillard’s top suitor – have told several free agents, including Malik Beasley, that they won’t be moving forward with veteran’s minimum signings until they have more clarity on the Lillard situation. Miami would presumably be a more attractive destination for veteran free agents with Lillard on the roster — and would have more roster openings to fill.

According to Fischer, Dario Saric and Josh Christopher are among the players who “could be involved” with the Heat depending on what happens with Lillard. Saric is a free agent, while Christopher is reportedly being traded from Houston to Memphis, so perhaps there are scenarios in which he’d be re-routed to Miami. Beasley apparently decided not to wait on the Heat, having agreed to sign with Milwaukee.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Like Lillard with the Heat, Harden has conveyed a strong preference that he end up with the Clippers, according to Fischer. The fact that the two stars are each focused on a single destination is one reason why the Trail Blazers and Sixers are moving so deliberately, Fischer notes, since they don’t want to be “backed into a corner” and accept pennies on the dollar. It will be a challenge for Portland and Philadelphia to extract the best possible package they can for their respective stars without opening up the market to other teams, either as potential Lillard/Harden destinations or as third or fourth clubs in multi-team deals that get the star guards to their desired landing spots.
  • The Clippers appear better positioned to work out a deal with the Sixers for Harden than the Heat are with the Trail Blazers for Lillard, in part because Philadelphia is prioritizing expiring contracts and Los Angeles has plenty of those to offer, Fischer says. Still, he wonders if Clippers swingman Norman Powell – who has three years left on his contract – might hold some appeal for the Sixers, whose new head coach Nick Nurse had Powell on his 2019 title team in Toronto.
  • The fact that Harden has just one year left on his contract – compared to Lillard’s four – may make a dark-horse suitor more comfortable about rolling the dice on the Sixers guard, knowing that if it doesn’t go well, he’ll be off the books in a year and it won’t be a long-term problem, Fischer writes. On the other hand, team executives around the NBA aren’t necessarily convinced that Lillard, who has a reputation for being a consummate professional and can’t reach free agency until at least 2026, would play hardball and refuse to report to camp if he’s sent to a non-Heat team, Fischer adds.