The Mercury News

Warriors add two, trade Paschall

Porter, Bjelica fill a couple of needs

- By Wes Goldberg wgoldberg@ bayareanew­

In the opening hours of free-agent negotiatio­ns, Golden State agreed to terms with Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica for minimum contracts. Both were well-regarded signings that addressed needs on the perimeter and in the frontcourt. Though some wonder what’s next for the Warriors, the major roster moves may have already been made.

While Porter and Bjelica project as helpful, each arrives with a troublesom­e injury history and it’s unclear if the Warriors have landed a reliable sixth man. Both could credibly fill that role, but only by staying on the court.

The Warriors decided Wednesday that Eric Paschall wouldn’t be the sixthman solution when they traded him to the Utah Jazz for a for a protected future second-round pick, a league source confirmed to the Bay Area News Group.

Paschall’s time in Golden State comes to end after two seasons, as the move opens a needed roster spot amidst pending free-agent additions. The 41st pick in 2019, Paschall was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team but regressed in his second season due to stagnated improvemen­t and lingering ailments.

Meanwhile, the Warriors still have a $5.9 million taxpayer mid-level exception to

spend, but may not have anyone to spend it on.

Proven players such as Patty Mills (Brooklyn Nets), Nic Batum (LA Clippers) and Kendrick Nunn (Los Angeles Lakers) signed elsewhere. Either would have given Golden State a reliable night-tonight presence. Now with most of the top targets off the market and a payroll approachin­g historic levels, it’s not a guarantee the Warriors use the exception at all.

With Alen Smailagic officially being waived Wednesday, the Warriors have 15 players currently under contract, and will have 16 players if Nico Mannion returns.

There’s already a numbers crunch to determine the 15-man roster on opening night, and adding someone on a guaranteed contract would have to be a clear upgrade to justify the cost and complicati­ons.

Free-agent scoring guards Dennis Schroder and Reggie Jackson, or a reliable 3-and-D wing such as Danny Green would be helpful, but do they move the needle enough to warrant the expensive luxury tax implicatio­ns?

That’s the question facing Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who is still dealing with the financial fallout of the coronaviru­s pandemic and just signed off on an extension that will pay Stephen Curry $216 million over another four years.

As it stands, the Warriors’ roster would cost roughly $363 million in salary and luxury taxes. Using the taxpayer mid-level exception could cost the franchise upwards of $45 million in additional luxury taxes, escalating the total roster cost well past $400 million.

This is significan­t not just because it would be a historic price, but also because it’s a mark general manager Bob Myers said “would be exceeding the limit” to what he could spend.

“Even if my owner Joe wanted to do that, I think he’d had to fire me if we paid $400 million and didn’t win a championsh­ip,” Myers said during his end-of-season press conference.

That’s the fundamenta­l question: Does a player signed with the exception meaningful­ly increase Golden State’s chances of winning a championsh­ip?

A case could be made for Schroder, who averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists for the Lakers last season.

But even as the market for him has cooled, it’s still unlikely he accepts a $5.9 million salary. Green is helpful, but there could be diminishin­g returns considerin­g that the Warriors have already signed a wing in Porter and drafted two in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

Should the Warriors determine they need to sign someone, the compromise could be offering another minimum. That would maintain a comfortabl­e margin between the $400 million threshold and could yield a helpful player such as Andre Iguodala or Avery Bradley.

Other available free agents include Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, Raul Neto, E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway and Frank Ntlikina.

Though Paschall appeared to carve out a role as a small-ball center early last season, he missed 30 games because of a strained left hip flexor, coronaviru­s-related reasons, a sore right knee and a sore left wrist. He played just three of Golden State’s final 31 games amidst a playoff push.

With the additions of forwards Porter and Bjelica, it was unclear what Paschall’s role would be in the rotation next season. In Utah, Paschall will reunite with childhood friend Donovan Mitchell.

Paschall averaged 9.5 points on 49.7% shooting (33.3% from 3-point range), 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 40 games last season.

 ??  ?? Paschall
 ?? JANE TYSKA — STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? Eric Paschall averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds last season for the Warriors but missed 30 games due to a variety of ailments.
JANE TYSKA — STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER Eric Paschall averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds last season for the Warriors but missed 30 games due to a variety of ailments.

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