Newspaper article International New York Times

Filling Bench Shouldn't Be a Problem for Warriors ; Previous Similar Teams Had No Trouble Luring Veterans to Play for Little

Newspaper article International New York Times

Filling Bench Shouldn't Be a Problem for Warriors ; Previous Similar Teams Had No Trouble Luring Veterans to Play for Little

Article excerpt

Assumptions that Golden State would have trouble accommodating Kevin Durant's salary overlooked that other players would accept minimal contracts to join up.

In the wake of Monday's announcement that Kevin Durant intended to sign with the Golden State Warriors, fans on social media briefly began to question if the team would have to sacrifice its notable depth to acquire yet another star. With multiple media outlets reporting that the veterans David West and Zaza Pachulia had agreed to join the team, Golden State's "Strength in Numbers" slogan should safely be in play for 2016-17.

The cause for concern among Warriors fans, and glee among those hoping the Big Four experiment will fail, was that to accommodate Durant's contract -- $54.3 million over two years according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations -- the Warriors would have to find a trade partner for Andrew Bogut, their starting center, and give up any hope of bringing back the restricted free agents Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli. There is no doubt that Durant outshines all three players, but giving up both of the team's centers and its starting small forward seemed like a step back in terms of the deep rotations that Coach Steve Kerr has been known to employ.

However, many veteran players should be willing to take bargain- basement deals to play for a team fresh off a record 73-win season and whose starting lineup features the winners of the last three Most Valuable Player Awards and four of the 15 members of last season's All-N.B.A. team.

Such moves are common among great teams, a recent example being the LeBron James-led Miami Heat teams that were able to add veterans like Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller and Chris Andersen at bargain rates to complement the team's stars. It was a strategy that backfired for Gary Payton and Karl Malone when they joined the Los Angeles Lakers led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2003-04, although Payton finally won his first title a few seasons later when he joined O'Neal and Dwyane Wade on the Heat.

The first veteran to bite on the opportunity to chase a ring with Golden State was Pachulia, a 32-year-old veteran of 13 seasons, who most likely slots in as the team's starting center, reportedly for $2. …

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