NBA free agency: Five players Warriors could target after draft

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Five free agents Warriors could target after NBA draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors went young in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday, taking teenage wings Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody and insisting they’ll rely on free agency to find mature talent.

Take them at their word? Not necessarily, for it’s very conceivable that at least one of Golden State’s heralded kids -- and we include center James Wiseman -- won’t be in San Francisco for opening night at Chase Center.

But unless/until a trade materializes, free agency is all there is. Negotiations can legally start on Monday at 3 p.m. PDT, with signings no sooner than 9:01 a.m. on Aug 6. The Warriors will pursue two veterans to fill different roles.

“We need to add a couple guys,” team president Bob Myers conceded late Thursday night. “We need some veterans. I don't know who that will be.”

Myers mentioned the obvious vacancies: veteran wing and backup point guard. Here are five unrestricted free agents, in alphabetical order, who address those needs.

Torrey Craig

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound wing spent the past eight months bouncing from the Denver Nuggets to the Milwaukee Bucks to the Phoenix Suns, where he earned playing time in The Finals. He’s one of those unheralded types who embraces big moments and actually performs slightly better in the postseason.

He’s 30 years old but didn’t reach the NBA until he was 27, a trajectory not unlike that of Juan Toscano-Anderson. Both have a similar approach to the game: Play as if it can be taken away tomorrow. The Suns on Thursday acquired Landry Shamet and that could eliminate the need to re-sign Craig. He probably could be had on a minimum deal.

Rudy Gay

Once one of the highest flyers in the league, Gay lost some athleticism after Achilles’ tendon surgery in 2017 but remains an above-average athlete and a capable scorer from all three levels.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound combo forward shot 38.1 percent from distance last season with San Antonio. Highly respected throughout the NBA, he’ll be 35 in August. He’s accustomed to coming off the bench and could be a mentor to the youngsters and a sounding board for Klay Thompson, who is coming off Achilles’ tendon surgery. Gay has made more than $165 million in his career and might be willing to consider Golden State’s $5.9 million mid-level exception.

Danny Green

One of the most underappreciated quality players in the NBA, he’s not flashy and doesn’t post gaudy statistics. A consistently good defender and 40.1-percent career shooter from beyond the arc, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing keeps finding important roles on contending teams.

He was won titles as a starter with three different franchises. Over a span of 11 seasons, he has played 153 playoff games -- more than every active player not named LeBron James or Andre Iguodala. Green turned 34 last month and might be looking for one more multi-year contract north of $12 million annually. But he’s definitely worth a look.

Andre Iguodala (Miami Heat unlikely to exercise option)

He showed signs of statistical decline last season. Of course, he did. He’s 37 and will be 38 next January. That said, everyone in the locker room would embrace his presence and benefit from his wisdom.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing might not be ready for the vet minimum that comes with the Udonis Haslem semi-retirement role, but there’s no place Iguodala would rather do it. With so much history involved, a reunion is as conceivable as it is unlikely. We’re about to see how sentimental the Warriors can be.

RELATED: Why Kuminga believes Warriors are 'perfect fit' for him

Patty Mills

The Brad Wanamaker experiment last season was a massive failure, Mills is dynamic enough to make it a distant memory.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Aussie is not a typical point guard but is a pure basketball player, particularly effective on offense. He’s capable of burning opponents in much the same way Leandro Barbosa once did. A career-long reserve valued by the Spurs, Mills is equally effective on the ball or with off-ball movement. He’s a career 38.8-percent shooter from deep and an 85.8-percent from the line. He turns 33 next month, has earned $63 million in his career and his time in San Antonio could be over.

Is the Saint Mary’s College product ready to come “home?”

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