This summer, there might be some changes to the supporting cast surrounding the Golden State Warriors’ championship-winning trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green (who might be moving himself).
Through free agency, the front management can provide support for the team’s stars. Brooklyn Nets forward Yuta Wantanabe is one of the players on Zach Buckley’s list of the best Warriors free agents to target, according to Bleacher Report.
“His 2022-23 breakout was interrupted by the Brooklyn Nets’ deadline dealing, which quickly congested the wing rotation. Watanabe was often squeezed out, which potentially clouds over what was otherwise a convincing campaign. He spent the first half of the season energizing a Nets team that was still championship chasing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Watanabe, a 6’9″ swingman, consistently made his presence felt with energetic defense, transition attacking and a three-ball that fell at a personal-best rate of 44.4 percent (and a ridiculous 51.4 percent from the corners, per NBA.com).”
The Warriors would be wise to sign Wantanabe. He won’t probably command a huge contract, which will allow Golden State to sign him without hurting themselves under the new CBA agreement.
Additionally, as Buckley pointed out, he would fit well into the rotation for the Dubs because of his ability to provide shooting with size. He was undoubtedly at his best last season when he was playing with players like Irving and Durant, who drew the lion’s share of the attention from the opposition defense.
The presence of players like Curry, Thompson, and even Jordan Poole, if he’s still playing next fall, would provide the Japanese wing plenty of terrific looks if he were to sign with the Warriors.
For the Nets in 2022–2023, Wantanabe made a career-high 58 appearances, playing 16.0 minutes per game. He averaged only approximately 5.6 points per game, but efficiency is once again essential for him. Wantanabe made 49.1% of his floor shots and 44.4% of his long-range tries.
Jonathan Kuminga May Ask Warriors for Trade
The likelihood of bringing Wantanabe in appears much more likely when the Jonathan Kuminga situation is taken into account. The forward, 20, has expressed his discontent with his place on Steve Kerr’s team.
There are even whispers that he would try to demand a trade if he doesn’t have additional responsibilities next season.
“The Warriors and Kuminga’s representatives are expected to discuss his future this offseason, league sources say,” The Athletic’s Anthony Slater and Shams Charania wrote.“Golden State will need to decide whether Kuminga will receive a full-time role moving forward and, if not, league sources say the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft will want to be somewhere he can play more.”