The Golden State Warriors still have the worst record in the Western Conference, but the team has been playing better ball recently. Golden State is on a four-game winning streak, a stretch that includes a huge win at home over the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day, and thanks to the struggles every other squad at the bottom of the conference has had, the Dubs are only 5.5 games back of the 8-seed in the West.
Reinforcements will come later this season when Steph Curry returns, and they might get bolstered even more depending on when Klay Thompson can take the floor. Between now and then, though, Golden State will have to figure out what to do with some veteran players who may not have a future with the team, especially as some of the team’s younger contributors force them to make decisions. This has meant that guys like veteran wing Alec Burks are available.
As much as the Warriors like Burks, and they most assuredly do, they are willing, according to league sources, to part with him — and several other veterans — for the right deal. Why consider moving arguably their most proficient offensive player? Because they want to create room to accommodate two-way guards Damion Lee and Ky Bowman.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged as much late Friday night.
“It’s an awkward situation for us, because Ky and Damion are coming up on their limit,” Kerr said. “And they’re two of our top seven players in our rotation. And yet the rules are that we only have them for another nine or 10 days each.
“Everybody is aware of that. We don’t know how it’s going to play out.”
Burks is on quite the interesting contract, as he’s due $1.6 million this year and is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season. He’s also averaging 15.5 points per game — the third-best mark on the team — and connecting on about 35 percent of his threes. As for Bowman and Lee, the pair are on two-way contracts, with the former having 11 days left on his deal and the latter having 12. Once those players spend 45 days in the league, teams have to either convert their contracts to NBA deals or spend the rest of the year in the G League.
The trickiness of Golden State’s bloated cap sheet means that finding gems like Burks has a ton of value, but with the team’s struggles this season, players like him give them a chance to acquire assets and build their roster based on what the team can look like with Curry and Thompson back on the floor. There are other players who fit this bill, too, and it’s not hard to see a scenario in which the Dubs are one of the league’s more active teams prior to the trade deadline as a result.