Golden State Warriors: Best Free-Agent Signings Since 2002


May 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward Carl Landry (7) celebrates after a basket against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter of game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 92-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the Golden State Warriors ready to enter a potentially formative offseason, here is a chronological reflection on the Warriors’ recent free agent successes.

Speedy Claxton: 2003

Claxton played 46 games for the Warriors in the 2004-05 season before being traded along with Dale Davis to the New Orleans Hornets for Baron Davis. Claxton played 32.6 minutes per game, averaging 13.1 points and 6.2 assists per game.  He was not a very efficient scorer, with an adjusted field goal percentage of 44.1 percent, but managed to attempt 5.1 free throw attempts per 36 minutes.  While his production was decent, Claxton is significant as a key piece to the Davis trade.

Mar 24, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Brian Cardinal (35) reacts against the Houston Rockets in the third quarter at the Toyota Center. The Mavericks defeated the Rockets 101-99 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Cardinal:  2004 

After being waived by the Washington Wizards the previous season, Cardinal signed a one-year deal with the Warriors.  In 76 games played, he average 21.5 minutes and 9.6 points per game. In his lone year with Golden State, “The Custodian” sure cleaned up. He led the league in true shooting percentage at 62.6 percent, had a plus-20 rating differential and recorded .212 win shares per 48 minutes, clearly indicative of the elite player we all know Cardinal was, not an insignificant role player.

Kelenna Azubuike:  2007

On January 2nd, 2007, the Warriors signed Azubuike, then playing for the Fort-Worth Developmental League team, to his first professional contract.  Azubuike went on to play 205 games over four seasons with the Warriors before being sent to New York in a trade for David Lee. Though his career was derailed by injuries, Azuibike gave the Warriors consistent defensive effort and perimeter athleticism, and embodied the reckless mentality that carried (or maybe complimented, you know, tangible things like matchups and defense) the Warriors to their upset of Dallas in the 2007 playoffs.

Corey Maggette:  2008

During the 2008 offseason, the Warriors blew up the “We Believe” core, letting Baron Davis sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, and signed Corey Maggette to a then-and-now ridiculous five-year, 48 million dollar contract.  He scored relatively efficiently in his two years with the Warriors, but struggled with health issues. Maggette, often an example of the foolish contracts NBA teams “used to” give, was vilified for his poor effort and has become associated with many of the Warriors’ recent failures.

Mar 8, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons small forward Corey Maggette (50) before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Dorell Wright:  2008 

The summer before the 2010-11 season, Wright signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Warriors.  A decent defender and three-point shooter, he played 38.4 minutes his first year as a Warrior, but fell out of favor with Mark Jackson towards the end of his second. More importantly, Wright was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the three-team trade through which the Warriors acquired Jarrett Jack.

Carl Landry:   2012

Before this season, Landry signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Warriors. The second year is a player option that Landry is expected to drop, allowing the reserve power forward to enter free agency.  He served as an efficient scoring big man (true shooting percentage of 60.5 percent), was a decent rebounder and was not fatally flawed defensively.  Though he will likely depart this offseason, Landry was a key to the Warriors’ success.

Kent Bazemore:  2012

The Warriors signed Bazemore after he went undrafted in prior to the season. While Stephen Curry, David Lee and others dominated on the court, Bazemore made his presence known from the bench. With Jarrett Jack’s returning next season in doubt and the Warriors flexibility limited, Bazemore may play a vital role on the team sooner than expected.