Warriors first offseason roster move comes with reported departure of young big man

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

While NBA free agency is still over a month away, the Golden State Warriors have already lost one of their young big men with Usman Garuba reportedly set to join Real Madrid.

Garuba signed a standard deal with Golden State late in the season, but otherwise spent almost all of the season with their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz on a two-way contract.

Usman Garuba appeared in just six games and 18 total minutes for the Golden State Warriors in his lone season with the franchise

According to Euro Hoops' Aris Barkas, the former first-round pick is set to return home to Spain where he played for Real Madrid junior teams from the age of 11.

"Real Madrid has convinced Usman Garuba to leave the NBA and return to Europe, per Eurohoops sources, joining the EuroLeague finalists with a long-term contract."

Aris Barkas

After being drafted with the 23rd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Garuba played 99 games across two seasons with the Houston Rockets where he averaged over 10 minutes per game. The 6'8" big man was traded to and waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder last offseason, opening up the opportunity for the Warriors to land Garuba on a two-way deal.

Yet the 22-year-old was unable to have an impact in Golden State, having spent the season in the G League where he averaged 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.6 blocks per game. Garuba had 21 points and 13 rebounds in Santa Cruz's final playoff elimination game against the Stockton Kings on April 5.

Garuba's future with the Warriors appeared in danger following a quote from Steve Kerr six weeks before the season finished, with the head coach stating, "he has to refine his game and find his niche, whether with our team or with another."

Garuba is still young enough to suggest his NBA career may be far from over, but for now it appears like he'll be headed home to continue his development and receive far more opportunity than he had with the Warriors this season.