Intriguing Warriors' signing may give hint to future plans on young big man

Golden State Warriors Media Day
Golden State Warriors Media Day / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

With just one game left in their regular season, the Golden State Warriors made an intriguing singing on Saturday by converting Usman Garuba's two-way deal to a standard contract.

Reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania, the move allows Garuba to be eligible for playoff action despite the fact he's appeared in just five games for the Warriors this season.

The Golden State Warriors' decision to sign Usman Garuba could indicate the franchise's long-term plans for the young big man

Garuba has spent the season developing with the Warriors' G League affiliate where he averaged 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.6 blocks per game. The Spaniard had an impressive 21 points and 13 rebounds in Santa Cruz's final playoff game against the Stockton Kings last week, though it wasn't enough in a 112-109 defeat.

After being traded to, then waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder during the offseason, Garuba was initially viewed as a fascinating two-way signing for Golden State after displaying some potential in his first two years with the Houston Rockets.

However, his complete lack of on-court impact with the Warriors (just 12 total minutes this season) has led to genuine question marks surrounding his future, particularly after Steve Kerr stated that 'Usi' needs to "refine his game and find his niche" during an interview in early March.

Perhaps Garuba's conversion to a standard deal is a hint that the franchise has long-term plans for the former first-round pick, otherwise it may simply be a case of Golden State wanting some frontcourt insurance ahead of a potential playoff run.

At the very least it's an indication that Garuba may have more merit as a short and long-term option than fellow two-way players Jerome Robinson and Pat Spencer. That's not overly surprising given he's still a first-round pick from less than three years ago, is just 22-years-old, and has shown some glimpses in his 104 career NBA games to date.

The Warriors started with 13 players on their main roster at the start of the season, before signing Brazilian forward Gui Santos, trading Cory Joseph to create a roster spot at the February deadline, and converting the two-way contracts of Lester Quinones and now Garuba.