Veteran big gets surprising contract as one of two former Warriors to find new home

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets
Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

After losing Chris Paul and Klay Thompson earlier in the week, the Golden State Warriors have now lost another veteran free agent in the form of Croatian big man Dario Saric.

Saric has signed a two-year, $10.6 million contract with the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday. It provides the 2023 NBA champions with another front court option, having often struggled in Nikola Jokic's minutes off the floor last season.

Dario Saric's new contract comes as a slight surprise following his disappointing end to his sole season with the Golden State Warriors

The 30-year-old's new deal is an upgrade after signing a one-year, $2.7 million contract with the Warriors a year ago. The contract comes as somewhat unforeseen after Saric ended the season largely out of Steve Kerr's rotation.

The eight-year veteran had started the season well, but his defensive limitations became too hard to reckon with -- not overly helped by the fact 100% of his minutes came at center, per Basketball Reference.

Saric averaged 8.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.4 minutes per game with Golden State last season, having shot 46.6% from the floor and 37.6% from three-point range.

Saric wasn't the only former Warrior to land with a new team on Saturday, with 2015 NBA champion Harrison Barnes having been traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a three-team sign-and-trade that sees the Sacramento Kings acquire 6x All-Star DeMar DeRozan from the Chicago Bulls.

DeRozan is an intriguing addition for the Kings who now have a potent offensive trio with he, De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. There does appear to be concerns with the lack of spacing between DeRozan and Sabonis, while the defensive capacity of both could also cause issues.

From a Golden State standpoint, the Kings decision to sign DeRozan could mean one less competitor trying to get their hands on Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. Sacramento were reportedly close to a deal for the 2023 All-Star earlier in the week, according to Yahoo Sports' Jake Fisher.

Tony Jones of the Athletic reported on Friday that the Warriors now have a substantial offer on the table for Markkanen, having previously missed out on 9x All-Star Paul George before his decision to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers as an unrestricted free agent.