The Mo Buckets Era is over.
Marreese Speights, the 6-foot-10 forward/center whose shooting stroke begat a nickname that endeared him to Warriors fans, will sign Friday with the Los Angeles Clippers, CSNBayArea.com has confirmed.
The Warriors made no attempt to re-sign or even contact Speights, according to sources.
His three-year $11 million contract had expired, and the unrestricted free agent reportedly will accept a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum to play in L.A.
“It’s been a blessing,” Speights wrote in a direct Twitter message to CSNBayArea.com Friday afternoon. “I wish I could have stayed, but things happen. I will always have love for the Warriors. I wish I could have had a bigger role; I have way more to my game. But I had to sacrifice the last couple years and I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
It is, to say the least, a disappointing result for Speights, one of the purest-shooting big men in the NBA.
A valuable member of the Warriors bench, Speights has the ability to score in bunches from the perimeter, even adding a 3-point shot that last season became a legitimate threat. His average of 22.2 points per 36 minutes last season, though down from a career-high 23.6 the previous season, was higher than those of star forward/centers LaMarcus Aldridge and Dirk Nowitzki.
Speights’ greatest asset the ability to space the floor as a center in small lineups utilized by coach Warriors coach Steve Kerr. His shooting ability often forced centers out of the paint, opening up driving lanes for his teammates.
Speights’ scoring average dropped from 10.4 points in 2014-15 to 7.1 last season, when he ranked 10th in the league in points per minute. His minutes also dropped, from 15.9 to 11.6.
By adding veteran forward David West, who possesses a reliable jump shot but rarely fires from deep, the Warriors have somewhat mitigated the loss of Speights.