OAKLAND -– The Warriors shuffled their roster again on Friday, improving it and saving a considerable amount of money in one move.
The latest addition, 6-foot-11 big man Jason Thompson, was acquired from the 76ers in exchange for 6-foot-7 small forward Gerald Wallace, who was officially acquired from the Celtics on Monday in exchange for David Lee.
Thompson was only three weeks removed from being traded to Philadelphia by Sacramento, where he spent seven seasons as a member of the Kings. Thompson appeared in 541 games for the Kings, making 405 starts.
Whereas the Warriors were very coy about their plans for Wallace, they project Thompson to play center and power forward.
“He does a lot of things,” general manager Bob Myers said Friday afternoon. “Good rebounder. Hits the 15-foot jump shot. Good defender. Good post defender. Physical. Tough. Mature. A lot of little things, a little bit like Draymond (Green). He’s great at getting 50-50 balls. He really just competes.
“That may sound like an over-generalization, but that’s important. I watched him play on teams that were struggling, and he gave his effort. That’s why you tell players that people are always watching and you never know where you’re going to end up. I’ve always respected him from afar. He fits exactly into what we’re trying ot build here and sustain, which is talent and work ethic and character.”
Thompson, who last week turned 29, never quite fulfilled his anticipated potential in Sacramento, so the Warriors are hoping a change of scenery -– and a vastly different system -– will allow him to flourish.
The Warriors, for their part, come out ahead either way. They entered the offseason hoping to shed Lee and the final season of his contract, with a $15.5 million payout. Acquiring Wallace, who will make $10.1 million in the final season of his deal, trimmed almost $20 million in payroll and luxury tax payments.
Moving Wallace for Thompson, however, saves even more. Thompson has two seasons remaining on his deal: $6.431 million next season and $6.825 million in 2016-17. The latter season is partially guaranteed at $2.65 million, the amount Thompson would receive if is waived before next June 27.
With this series of moves -– Lee for Wallace, Wallace for Thompson –- the Warriors stand to save about $30 million overall for next season.
They also filled a need for depth in the frontcourt. Thompson will played center and forward, in the rotation with Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights, Draymond Green.
“I don’t know if we’re ever set,” Myers said. “I would say we’re as good as we can be. It’s the best we can do. We feel like we have good depth. No roster is perfect. But we feel like we added a player that can help you win basketball games and is a good person. That’s the type of player we want on the team.”