Golden State Warriors all but acknowledge difficulty in retaining valuable offseason signing

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

For the third-time in three-straight seasons, the Golden State Warriors have unearthed a free agent signing that plays well above their value. First it was Otto Porter Jr., then it was Donte DiVincenzo, and now it's Dario Saric.

The Croatian continued his strong early form with another impressive display against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals while making four of his seven three-point attempts.

Steve Kerr has all but acknowledged the Golden State Warriors will have a tough time retaining Dario Saric in free agency next offseason.

Saric continues to provide immense value for the Warriors after the franchise signed him to a one-year, $2.7 million deal in free agency. The 29-year-old is currently averaging 10.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists on 37.3% three-point shooting.

Saric's chemistry with former Phoenix Suns teammate Chris Paul has been evident, with his frontcourt shooting providing a nice foil to the more defensive-minded nature of Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.

While it's just 17 games into the season, Saric is already making a case for a much bigger deal in free agency next time around. That was acknowledged by head coach Steve Kerr in the aftermath of Friday's win over the Spurs where he recognized that Saric "slipped through the cracks" last offseason.

""He knew this was a year where he slipped through the cracks free-agency wise, and needed to be in a good spot to show what he can do," Kerr said. "And this is definitely the spot. I mean, he's playing so well. He's clearly a player who's going to command a big salary next summer.""

Golden State are starting to become accustomed to having these 'one-year, prove it type deals'. It worked effectively with Porter in 2021-22, with the veteran forward signing a two-year, $12.3 million deal with the Toronto Raptors after being a pivotal part of the Warriors' championship. The same could be said for DiVincenzo who garnered a four-year, $46.9 million contract with the New York Knicks after a strong lone year with Golden State last season.

Without bird rights, Golden State were perilous to stop Porter or DiVincenzo from leaving for bigger deals. The same will be true for Saric, with free agency rules limiting the tax-burdened franchise from offering anymore than 120% of this season's salary -- a mere $3.2 million.

For now, the Warriors need to try and capitalize on the value Saric is providing them. Despite his impressive play, the franchise is just 8-9 on the season and has plenty of work to do to re-establish championship credentials.