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With Nick Young, the Warriors Continue to Stack the Deck

Plus: Omri Casspi’s minimum deal gives them even more firepower

(AP Images)
(AP Images)

The Deal

Nick Young and Golden State reportedly reached an agreement on a one-year deal worth the full value of the midlevel exception, $5.2 million. But Draymond Green, who remains a faithful Snapchat user even after accidentally sending a nude into the world last summer, could’ve told you that three days ago.

Isn’t That a Pay Cut?

Yes, it’s a pay cut. When Swaggy opted out of his final contract year with the Lakers, he left $5.4 million guaranteed in Los Angeles. But this isn’t Dion Waiters turning down Oklahoma City’s $6.8 million extension only to sign for half of that with Miami. Though it’s slightly off-brand, Young taking a minor pay cut is not the product of overconfidence. He did opt out for the certainty of getting more, but in joining the Warriors, even though he’ll receive smaller checks, Young did get more.

It’s a chance at a title, or, according to Vegas, by far the best chance at one. At 32, Swaggy sacrificed insurance by agreeing to a short-term contract, but after Steph Curry’s previous deal and Kevin Durant’s extension, that might be part of the team’s pitch.

The signing comes a day after Golden State inked a deal with Omri Casspi for the veteran minimum, $2.1 million. Casspi, dividing his time last season between the Kings, Pelicans, and Wolves, saw his 3-point accuracy dip to the lowest it’s been in four years, shooting 34.9 percent between the three teams. It’s a deceptive result of changing offenses three times in a season: Omri, like Nick, is a known sharpshooter. Signing Casspi fills the role of reliable (and cheap) backup on offense, and the Warriors’ stretching their remaining money to also sign Young is extra padding.

If Golden State had a roster weakness, it was a lack of outside shooting from its bench Finding rest time for starters throughout the regular season will fly easier this year.

Are the Warriors a Legitimacy Factory?

When JaVale McGee made it out of training camp on a nonguaranteed contract last summer, he was known as goofy first, and a backup second. His most memorable moments came from Shaq hijacking his lowlight reel for segments, and even those were running out: It had been five years since the big man had a season in which he averaged 20 minutes on the court.

McGee averaged the fewest minutes per game of his career with the Warriors last season, but his rim protection helped small-ball Golden State escape overpowering bigs, and suddenly Kevin Durant was speaking up in his defense. He nearly fell out of the league, then helped win a championship.

Young, who played with McGee on the Wizards, didn’t arrive in Golden State via tryout. But for a guy whose most famous shot is one that did not go in, he could use some of the Warriors’ legitimacy. His production with the Lakers fluctuated as the coaches came and went. The season before Luke Walton took over, Young scored a career-low 7.3 points per game. This year, he was put in a starting position and thrived, averaging 13.2 points on 40.4 percent from deep.

Golden State almost channels the Spurs’ reputation for finding talent. But unlike San Antonio’s foreign signings and late-pick draftees, the Warriors take the Andre Iguodalas, the JaVales, the Swaggy Ps — players who we think we know well — and reimagine their roles. There isn’t a ton of certainty for a franchise when locking in a guy for only one year, but at least for that time, we’ll get to watch a gunner like Nick Young through Golden State’s eyes.

Regrets, I Have a Few