12 Worst free agent signings in Golden State Warriors history

Steve Kerr and D'Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Steve Kerr and D'Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images /
8 of 13
Golden State Warriors
Willie Cauley-Stein, Golden State Warriors. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images /

Worst Warriors free agent signings No. 6: Willie Cauley-Stein, 2019

The Golden State Warriors took a major swing in the 2019 offseason, turning Kevin Durant’s departure into a double sign-and-trade to bring back D’Angelo Russell (more on that move later). That hard-capped them, which means there was a hard limit they could not spend over under any circumstance.

They lost a ton of depth that offseason and had very little financial flexibility to replace it. That’s why it was incredibly strange when the largest contract they signed that summer (other than Russell) was former Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein.

The center out of Kentucky was an elite athlete, with plenty of “run and jump” upside as a rim protector and lob finisher. Yet the Warriors know what makes things work in their system. Cauley-Stein was seemingly signed to provide Russell with a pick-and-roll partner, but spending what little extra money they had on a center? Yet again, the Warriors made the same mistake.

Throughout their dynasty, the Warriors have continued to invest resources in centers they didn’t need, that didn’t fit their system, and who have contributed much less than ball-handlers or wings would have.

As the Warriors stumbled to a last-place finish, Cauley-Stein was perhaps not the problem but he certainly wasn’t the solution. He averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 41 games for the Warriors before they traded him to the Dallas Mavericks for a second-round pick.