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Golden State Warriors 2024 NBA offseason preview: Maximizing Steph Curry’s window should be the goal

May 11th, 2024

2023-24 season: 46-36

Highlight of the season: Jonathan Kuminga emerging as the second-best player on the team, after a few years of patience from the organization.

Unceremoniously. After winning the championship just two years ago, the Warriors failed to make the playoffs, getting bounced by the Sacramento Kings in the play-in tournament and entering the 2024 summer with bigger questions hovering over them.

While this incarnation of the Warriors has missed the playoffs before, it’s been due to somewhat obvious factors such as major injuries to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. This year, that excuse doesn’t hold water, as both of them played in over 70 games.

So, what went wrong? As tempting as it would be to find some quick excuse, the fact is this core is getting old, it’s not getting better, and it’s got a problem on its hands. Draymond Green was suspended this season for putting Wolves center Rudy Gobert in a headlock and hitting Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the head. It doesn’t take a genius to see that a player losing his cool — especially someone as crucial to team success as Green — is putting the team at a disadvantage when he goes out of the lineup.

Thompson is another story worth tracking this summer. Viewed as the second-best shooter in league history — which is hard to argue against — the 34-year-old has done an admirable job of remaining relevant as a shooter after both an Achilles tear and a torn ACL. The injuries have robbed him of his defensive consistency, something that was a staple of his for years. To his credit, he remains a hard worker, but his body simply doesn’t allow him to be as effective as he used to be.

Curry, for all the championships and MVPs, is also no longer a spring chicken. Despite looking at least 10 years younger, Curry turned 36 in March, and it’s reasonable to wonder how much longer he can carry this team when his former All-Star teammates can’t step up. The players who can, among them Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski and sometimes Moses Moody, aren’t on a similar timeline as the aforementioned legendary trio.

Timeline is certainly going to be a theme within the Warriors organization this summer. Thompson is a free agent, and the team likely is cutting loose Chris Paul due to his salary of $30 million being non-guaranteed if waived before June 28.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 12: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket in the second quarter against Dyson Daniels #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans at Chase Center on April 12, 2024 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)

Stephen Curry is still tremendous, but for how much longer will he be able to carry the Warriors? (Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)

If the Warriors wish to build the best possible team around Curry during his final years, they will need to consider the possibility of trading Kuminga and Podziemski, who should each fetch a significant trade return. However, due to their salary constraints, they can’t just take on money. If they find they can only try to round out the roster, assuming Thompson is back, they could stand to use another center, as Kevon Looney had a down year, leaving rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis to handle a bigger role.

There’s a lot of value in the second round this year with NIL keeping players in college longer. Thompson could be exploring other options in the offseason, and an older guard who could slide in alongside Curry in the backcourt and bring some outside shooting might be an area of need. UConn’s senior guards — Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer — led the Huskies to back-to-back championships and can play on and off the ball. — Krysten Peek

Projected draft pick (pre-lottery): No. 53

The Warriors are notorious for their big spending habits, which was always the right play when they were competing for titles. With both Thompson and Paul potentially coming off the books — and the former presumably re-signed to a more modest deal — Golden State should get back down under the second apron as long as it doesn’t spend wildly on Thompson.

Regardless, the team isn’t in possession of cap space, and it’s limited in what it can do on the trade front unless teams are willing to take on the contract of Andrew Wiggins.

Key free agents

Klay Thompson (UFA)

Chris Paul (UFA)

Dario Sarić (UFA)

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If the Warriors intend to prolong their competitive window while Curry and head coach Steve Kerr are still around, it’s all about racking up more wins and making the playoffs. But even if they optimize what they can, within their limits, it’s crucial to note that the West isn’t getting worse anytime soon, and the Warriors most certainly aren’t getting any younger.

Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. has his work cut out for him. Extending Kuminga should be the Warriors’ top priority. Trading Andrew Wiggins would help get the Warriors under the luxury tax. If Thompson doesn’t want to take a pay cut, then let him walk. Finally, move Podziemski and Jackson-Davis into full-time starting roles to embrace a youth movement.

— Dan Titus

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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