Sports Out West

5 free agents the Warriors should sign

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The Golden State Warriors signed Andre Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million contract on July 4, which paralyzed the club’s financial flexibility for the foreseeable future.

Unless you’re the Miami Heat, that’s a problem when you have a team to build.

The Warriors’ starting lineup is set, and there are intriguing assets to use in the second unit (like Harrison Barnes, assuming he sits for Iguodala, and Nemanja Nedovic, if he can escape Lithuania), but the reserve frontcourt remains dangerously bare, and the roster lacks a true distributor.

Festus Ezeli’s midseason return from knee surgery will certainly help, as should Iguodala’s point-forward prowess. However, for the Warriors to realistically go deep into the playoffs, more able bodies must be recruited. Here are five fading pros who will likely accept the veteran’s minimum and fit the Warriors’ needs (in no particular order):

Chris Wilcox – PF/C

Sexy, right? Well Wilcox isn’t your ordinary 4.2 points per game contributor (as he was in 2012-13 following heart surgery). The 31-year-old is a nifty scorer when under or attacking the basket and a decent rebounder. What Wilcox can’t do is defend the rim from anyone save Earl Boykins (Ezeli could help with that), as the journeyman would replace part of the offensive void made by Carl Landry’s departure.

Jermaine O’Neal – C

O’Neal is a six-time All-Star and the Indiana Pacers’ former centerpiece, but there’s no guarantee he can pass a physical, let alone log 60 games at his advanced age. Worn knees have zapped his once-great explosiveness, but the 35-year-old summoned flashbacks with the Phoenix Suns last season. This was highlighted by his 22 points, 13 rebounds (nine offensive), and two blocks in San Antonio in February.

His value comes primarily as a post defender these days. However, as a short-term commitment and at a low cost, he may be worth the value of a roster spot (until his next injury).

Jared Jeffries – F/C

The good? Jeffries can ball-stop three positions (3,4,5), run the floor, and serve as an intimidating 6’11” presence.

The bad? The 2002 lottery bust can’t be relied on to make a contested layup or rebound. His shot selection is poor and he refuses to set up teammates. That being said, his elastic defense comes in handy and Golden State wouldn’t be risking much.

Jamaal Tinsley – PG

Ignore the lawless history and hot-and-cold shooting. Tinsley boasts a 12:5 assist-to-turnover ratio and acts the role of a pure point guard. When focused, the 35-year-old is also a masterful thief anticipating passing lanes. Tinsley can’t be expected to play 20 minutes a contest anymore, but he’d be a steady third point guard behind Curry and Iguodala that coach Mark Jackson could call in a pinch.

Johan Petro – C

There was a time when Petro had potential when he was drafted 25th out of France in 2005 and later inked by the Nets in 2010 to a three-year, $10 million deal. It’s safe to say now the 27-year-old will forever be a stiff as an NBA center (not a person), but the seven-footer can score from 15 feet in and rebound effectively (11.5 rebounds per 36 minutes in 2012-13).

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and Radiosurvivor.com. He also owns the Theruination.net. Rui grew up an obsessive fan of the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Raiders, but he sympathizes with every West Coast team.