July 16, 2024

Warriors Cut Key $23 Million Vet Amid NBA Free Agency Moves…

The Golden State Warriors lost Klay Thompson in free agency, but that doesn’t mean they’re losing the summer as a whole.

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on Sunday, July 7, listed the Dubs’ addition of De’Anthony Melton to the standard mid-level exception (MLE) as one of the top-10 “sneaky-good” signings to this point in the summer.

“Melton, 26, is one of the better backcourt defenders in the NBA if his back issues are over,” Swartz wrote.

“His 1.6 steals per game would have tied Kawhi Leonard for fifth-most in the league had Melton played enough games to qualify. With Stephen Curry set to turn 37 next season, the Warriors help ease his defensive burden with the presence of Melton as well. … His combination of defense, outside shooting and passing has made a big impact on winning, as the Philadelphia 76ers were 10.3 points per 100 possessions better with Melton on the floor last season.”

The loss of Thompson was a catastrophic emotional blow to the Bay Area after 13 years with the franchise, six NBA Finals appearances, five All-Star selections and four titles. But in terms of on-court fit and production, one can make the argument that the much younger Melton is actually an upgrade over his future Hall-of-Fame predecessor.

“There’s a bit of a narrative that the Warriors have made some tragic mistake in terms of being a championship-contending team by not re-signing Klay Thompson,” Tim Bontemps of ESPN said on the July 2 edition of the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast. “If De’Anthony Melton’s back is okay, which is a big if because he missed basically the entire 2024 calendar year because of ongoing back issues, he’s a better fit for the Warriors this year than Klay Thompson.”

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