The Golden State Warriors have every reason to scavenge the buyout market for a suitable asset this February. However, doing so would force someone to the chopping block. Is Damion Lee the odd man out?
Damion Lee might be the one who is let go if the Golden State Warriors decide they need to hit the buyout market for additional talent.
It’s a rare circumstance for the Dubs to be in a position where all 15 players on the roster are capable of playing minutes each night. The rotation is far from set in stone at this point and that makes the buyout market an interesting trade-off that most teams don’t have to worry about.
In order for the Warriors to sign another player, they’d have to let go of someone. This becomes pretty difficult when you look at who you’d have to choose from.
Last members of Golden State’s rotation
- Damion Lee
- Juan Toscano-Anderson
- Nemanja Bjelica
- Gary Payton II
I don’t think there’s any argument that this group is the closes thing to “fringe” rotation players as the Dubs have. While Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga often play fewer minutes, there is no chance the Warriors cut one of their promising rookies, obviously.
Instead, it comes down to Lee, JTA, Bjelica or GP2.
We can safely assume Payton has earned his stay with the Warriors. He’s routinely one of their most impactful players and his defensive specialties are something the Dubs will maximize in the playoffs.
Then there is JTA, who has become vital in Draymond Green’s absence. Toscano-Anderson is the closest thing Golden State has to replicate Green’s energy in the frontcourt and it would be a lose-lose to cut JTA in favor of adding another big right now.
The same can be said for Bjelica — who has not played particularly great as of late but still serves a purpose as one of the few active bigs for Golden State.
Dubs need to add a big
Why is adding another big important? Well, the Dubs are suffering from a severe lack of size that even the return of James Wiseman might not be able to solve in the short term. With elite centers such as Nikola Jokic, Deandre Ayton and Rudy Gobert clogging the West, it would be good for the Dubs to find some help in the frontcourt.
In order to do so, it would not make much sense to part ways with one of the Warriors’ existing bigs simply to replace them with another one. The likelihood of any buyout candidate being a standout addition who eats major minutes is slim.
Instead, the Dubs would be expecting someone like Robin Lopez, for example, to slot into the lineup in key moments to play bursts of minutes against some of the best frontcourts in the league.
This brings us to our ultimate question — is keeping Lee more important than having extra depth in the frontcourt? He’s already a fringe lineup player who plays behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Gary Payton, Otto Porter and Jordan Poole.
Nevertheless, Lee is a quality 3-and-D wing who can be utilized.
As you can see, this is a tough decision for anyone to make and we likely won’t know the answer to this question until we are looking back in hindsight.