Waiting to sign Bowman in the offseason, when the Warriors will have his restricted free agent rights, comes with the risk that another team could swoop in with an offer too lucrative for the Warriors to match. Signing him to a multi-year deal during the season avoids that potential pitfall.
Alec Burks, who has emerged as an important scorer, will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Golden State has his non-Bird rights, which allows them to sign him for a salary of up to $3 million for next season. To sign him to a larger salary would mean using their mid-level exception, which they may prefer to use on an outside free agent.
The Warriors' starting small forward, Glenn Robinson III, is in a similar situation. The most the Warriors can pay him next season is $2.6 million without using part of the mid-level exception.
With both Burks and Robinson averaging career highs in points, assists and rebounds, the Warriors may not be able to afford to bring them back. It could make sense to trade one, or both, for draft picks.
If the Warriors were to bring everyone back next season, the perimeter rotation would be as such:
Point guard: Stephen Curry, Ky Bowman, Jacob Evans
Shooting guard: D'Angelo Russell, Alec Burks, Damion Lee
Small forward: Klay Thompson, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Poole
That's three-to-four guards too many, and that's not counting if the Warriors acquire another wing in the draft, with their $17.2 million trade exception or the mid-level exception.
Teams typically use five players in the wing rotation, and the Warriors need to figure out who those five are going to be (and who will be OK spending most of their time on the bench). They already know three of them -- Curry, Russell and Thompson -- so that leaves two more rotation spots.
The next 41 games will help inform the organization's approach to the offseason, and what the team looks like next season.
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