After a brief stint away from the franchise to start the season, the Golden State Warriors corrected their wrongs by bringing back Gary Payton II in exchange for James Wiseman at February’s trade deadline.
But Payton might not be the only former fan favorite and NBA champion to come back into the fold. With little capacity to sign players above a minimum contract once free agency rolls around, there’s an argument to be made for Golden State signing someone that knows the intricate details of their system
Back in The Bay for the Golden State Warriors’ first-round series, should the franchise consider bringing back Juan Toscano-Anderson?
Juan Toscano-Anderson will be a free agent this offseason, having left the Warriors for the Los Angeles Lakers after becoming an NBA champion in 2022. The 30-year-old would play 30 games for the Lakers before being traded to the Utah Jazz as part of the Russell Westbrook exchange.
‘JTA’ averaged 13.5 minutes in 52 total games this season, providing three points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Having shot just 18.6% from three-point range, it was hardly a notable season for Toscano-Anderson and his future now sits in limbo ahead of free agency.
An Oakland native, Toscano-Anderson is currently back in The Bay and was in attendance at Chase Center for the Warriors’ two wins over the Sacramento Kings in Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series. Speaking to 95.7 The Game’s Willard and Dibs on Monday, he didn’t shy away from his affinity with the franchise.
"“I’m a lifelong Warrior fan. Even though I’m not on the team in the competition I’m still a fan… Once a Warrior always a Warrior.”"
There’s clearly a question mark on what impact Toscano-Anderson can have on a quality team, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be a valuable pickup for Golden State. He was notably terrific for morale over his time at the franchise, an element the Warriors seemingly lost for large periods in a turbulent 2022-23 regular season.
The Warriors wasted a roster spot this season on Andre Iguodala, at least from an on-court standpoint. Toscano-Anderson could be a more reliable option playing-wise, while proving a similarly strong presence from the sidelines. Not too mention his journey to the league, and Bay Area roots, makes him an easy player to root for.