Speculation is ramping up ahead of the February 8 trade deadline, with the Golden State Warriors set to be an active player thanks to their current 18-22 record and 12th-placed standing in the Western Conference.
Yet while the trade market is heating up, potential roster changes can also extend past the deadline in the form of the buyout market. The Warriors currently have 14 contracted players, allowing them to sign a free agent should they wish.
The Golden State Warriors would be ineligible to sign one of the best potential buyout players post trade deadline
The Warriors could look at the buyout market post trade deadline, though they’d likely have to showcase significant improvement for the front office and ownership to commit even more to the league’s highest payroll.
Speaking of the payroll, Golden State’s standing as a team over the second apron means they’ll be limited in who they’re able to sign in the buyout market. According to the new CBA rules, the Warriors won’t be able to sign anyone who was making more than the mid-level exception ($12.2 million this season).
That would make them ineligible to sign some of the bigger name, more difference-making players that could be bought out. At the top of that list right now is Gordon Hayward, should the Charlotte Hornets not find a trade for the veteran forward before the deadline.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, "Hayward is absolutely for the taking, that on an expiring contract has more likelihood than ever to get moved…A lot of teams are also looking at Hayward as a buyout possibility.”
Hayward is having a solid season in Charlotte, although their 8-30 is far from where the franchise hoped to be. The 33-year-old is averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 31.9 minutes this season, while shooting 46.8% from the floor and 36.1% from three-point range.
Hayward’s no longer an All-Star calibre player post injuries, but he could be one of the better buyout market players that have become available in recent years. Alas, the Warriors will have to sit and wait to see which other team may snap him up should he become available.
They could alternatively trade for Hayward before the February 8 deadline, with a Chris Paul-for-Hayward deal having previously been proposed last month.