The Golden State Warriors are fresh off winning their fourth championship in eight years. Often times when squads win a chip, they opt to run it back with their existing rosters largely intact.
That won’t happen this time around.
Due to a combination of extenuating circumstances and financial obligations, the Warriors have watched multiple members of their title squad walk out the door.
This week, Draymond Green spoke out about the exit that really hurt him on a personal level.
“I’m a little hurt by this one, I had an opportunity to create a really great relationship with [Nemanja Bjelica] and one that, quite frankly, will last further than him or myself playing basketball,” he said on The Draymond Green Show recently.
“But for Beli, I think this was more of a family move than necessarily a business move. Beli has two young children and to be closer to his family.”
Bjelica will be playing for Fenerbahce Beko of the BSL in Turkey on a two-year contract worth somewhere in the $4 million range. Last year he averaged 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 16.1 minutes per game during the regular season and then played a particularly big role in the Warriors’ first-rounds series versus the Denver Nuggets.
Bjelica was obviously not the only role player Golden State lost this summer.
Otto Porter Jr. signed a two-year, $12.4 million contract with the Toronto Raptors rather than return to try and win another title. He explained why quite succinctly this week. Gary Payton got a three-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers worth roughly $29 million.
And Juan Toscano-Anderson got a one-year deal from the Los Angels Lakers worth nearly $2 million. He and his girl seem to be enjoying their new L.A. lifestyle quite nicely already.
That’s a lot of lost talent.
Obviously the Warriors are currently in celebration mode. Stephen Curry and Ayesha are out here trying to make a baby in public. Klay Thompson is doing Klay Thompson things. Andrew Wiggins and his girl are going wild on vacation.
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 8, 2022
But at a certain point, when all parties involved start returning for 2022-23, they’ll realize that losing all these instrumental role players hurts.
Will Golden State be able to plug the holes before the start of next year?
Time will tell.