Warriors summer league notebook: roster spots, Chris Paul’s starter comments and more

LAS VEGAS — The Warriors’ impending Dario Šarić signing will fill their 13th roster spot. They at least publicly maintain the possibility of using all 15, but the heavy luxury tax implications and behind-the-scenes signals make that unlikely. So, as it stands at the moment, there is really only one more available spot on the list.

But there is no rush from the front office to fill it in the coming days. They went into free agency intending to address two needs: an extra veteran hand in the backcourt and a reliable frontcourt option who could pass and shoot it. Cory Joseph and Šarić checked these fields. The remaining market is quite dry. The Warriors will likely take a patient wait-and-see approach before committing a guaranteed contract to someone in the 14th pick, team sources told Athletics.

Freedom of choice has been the popular term. Leaving an extra open roster gives the Warriors the freedom to jump if something unforeseen occurs. Any Damian Lillard, James Harden, Pascal Siakam or other surprise star trade could rattle some rosters and produce offseason buyout candidates. There is still plenty of league business pending in mid-July.

Have you seen the Thunder’s roster? After a recent trade with Atlanta to acquire Usman Garuba, TyTy Washington and Rudy Gay, Oklahoma City is confident of guaranteed roster spots. Someone needs to shake things off before the start of the season. Gay has $6.5 million remaining on an expiring deal and doesn’t fit the Thunder’s timeline. He seems like a cut candidate and is someone the Warriors have had interest in in the past. He is a name to watch.

That’s how the Warriors signed JaMychal Green a summer ago. He was traded from the Nuggets to the Thunder near the 2022 draft with more than $8 million remaining on his deal. He worked on a buyout with the Thunder on July 19 and subsequently signed with the Warriors. Another example occurred after the Thunder traded Ty Jerome to the Rockets as part of a multi-player trade in late September. Jerome received a buyout in Houston on October 1, 2022, and the Warriors secured him with the intention of giving him one of their two-way contracts. It worked out great for them.

If nothing appealing enough comes along before October, team sources indicate the Warriors are comfortable earning their 14th spot in a training camp competition among non-guaranteed candidates. That’s what they did with their two-way spots last October, entering camp with Quinndary Weatherspoon and Lester Quiñones on those deals and leaving it with Jerome and Anthony Lamb.

Quiñones would be one of the leading candidates participating in that competition this season. He remains a restricted free agent with a two-way qualifying offer extended to him. Quiñones has lit up summer league, scoring 26, 21 and 26 points in three of the four games, proving he could be ready for a spot on the regular roster. The Warriors control his restricted free-agent rights and don’t yet appear ready to offer him a full-guard spot, but they could more easily convince him to take the two-way qualifying offer if they keep one path open, so he can earn a real roster spot with a strong training camp.


Explains the Warriors’ decision to give Lester Quiñones a 10-day contract

The Warriors still don’t have a traditional center backing up Kevon Looney. They at least explored the idea of ​​signing Mason Plumlee and/or Alex Len in the early days of free agency, but both returned to their more comfortable spots. None of the current free agent centers seem to be moving the Warriors much.

Here’s new general manager Mike Dunleavy at a news conference Monday, discussing the lack of size on the Warriors’ roster.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is a name that gets forgotten in the frontcourt conversation. The Warriors gave the 2023 second-round pick two guaranteed seasons on a four-year deal. He’s not a traditional center, but profiles as a deep frontcourt back behind Looney, Draymond Green and Šarić that fits the Warriors’ unique style of play. They believe Jackson-Davis will be ready for at least spot minutes sooner or later.

Jackson-Davis tweaked his hamstring late in the pre-draft process and has missed the first four summer league games. But he went through a few full-speed workouts this week and could make his debut as early as Wednesday’s summer league game against Dallas.

The Warriors explored the idea of ​​trading KJ Martin early in the free agent process, league and team sources said Athletics. The Rockets were rearranging their roster and made the athletic young wing available via trade. He eventually landed with the Clippers for two second-round picks. The Warriors could have fit him on the roster through the trade exception created when Patrick Baldwin Jr. was sent to Washington, but the discussions never reached the final stages.

The most notable soundbite in Las Vegas this week came a few minutes after Chris Paul’s introductory press conference. You’ve probably seen it. When asked about leading the second unit next season, he came back with a reporter.

“Do you train?”

The implication was obvious. There hadn’t yet been a close discussion or any kind of agreement from Paul about his expected role, and retreating to the bench is not something he is quite ready to embrace. Paul has started all 1,363 NBA games he’s ever played, the longest streak to start a career since before 1970. Here’s the interaction.

Paul had a chance to silence any noise with an “I’ll do what’s asked” type of response. But it’s not Paul, which is fine. The Warriors know his personality and competitive drive well and welcomed them into the locker room, meaning they embrace what will be a loud conversation about Paul’s role when Media Day and training camp arrive in October. That will only continue into the season depending on the path Kerr and Paul decide on and how he performs.

What ultimately matters is his minutes total. You can set up the rotation in certain ways where Paul starts, is out early and is always on the court when Steph Curry is off it. His biggest appeal is running the second unit in a controlled manner, setting the table for players like Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and Šarić, his old teammate.

Paul averaged 33 and 32 minutes per game. game over his final two seasons in Phoenix, which could be a tick high for what the Warriors envision. Paul already met with Rick Celebrini, the Warriors’ ultimate medical decision maker, in Las Vegas this week. Celebrini’s team has already collected tons of data on Paul’s soft tissue injury history — all on his left side — with the goal of finding the best way to manage his workload to ensure he maintains his health through what the Warriors hope is a long playoff run . But of course Paul will have his opinions on all issues.

“You can ask Chris that,” Dunleavy said when asked about limiting Paul’s minutes. “I’m not sure that’s what he wants to do.”

Brandin Podziemski’s passing has really surfaced in summer league. He rarely has sight.

The Warriors’ 2023 first-round pick had 10 assists in the Warriors’ last game. This is his 10th dime, a probing drop-off after a quick decision drive attracted a pair of defenders.

That has been the most transferable part of his game in these early glimpses. The rebounding is also there. He has a nose for the ball, although he has been in position for a rebound a few times when a longer wing has come over the top to snare it away.

That’s part of the larger question about Podziemski early in his career: Does he have the size and athleticism to survive at the professional level? It has been difficult for him to regularly beat defenders off the dribble in summer league, and he hasn’t hit his jumper or high-arc floater.

The college numbers suggest the shot will be just fine if he can pull it off consistently, but the question of athleticism is bigger. A patient approach is expected from the Warriors. No one is putting him in the rotation in the early days of his rookie season. Selective G League stays are likely.

(Top photo: Ryan Stetz/NBAE via Getty Images)

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