The Golden State Warriors are going to have to continue their search for a proven rim protector.
According to Ethan Sherwood Strauss, the Warriors have decided against signing Larry Sanders. This news is coupled with rumors that Sanders is close to a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
— LetsGoWarriors (@LetsGoWarriors) July 13, 2016
Sanders was insinuating that he was only going to return to the league with one of these two franchises, so now it’s up to the Cavaliers to determine whether or not Sanders is worth the risk.
While it’s understandable that the Warriors chose not to pursue a player with the adversity that Sanders has contended with over his career, it’s disappointing from a basketball perspective.
Sanders will turn 28 next season, and if he can recover from the mental health issues that have plagued him, he has a lot of years remaining as a quality NBA center.
Before he left the league, Sanders was establishing himself as one of the premier rim protectors in the NBA. With the trade of Andrew Bogut, the Warriors don’t have a proven shot blocker on their roster.
Damian Jones averaged 1.7 blocks per game in 27.1 minutes per game during his college career at Vanderbilt, but it’s always an inexact science to project production from college to the pros.
Jones is certainly capable of being a proficient shot blocker, and he’s a very athletic 7’0’’ and 240 LBS. However, it’s important to note that he recently had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Although it’s a setback, he’s still expected to be ready in time for the regular season.
Jones was always billed as a bit of a project, though, so having to rely on him immediately as a backup center was a dubious proposition even without his injury to deal with.
The Warriors still have a couple roster spots open, and will likely look to sign an alternative option as a backup center.
They’ve been linked to Kendrick Perkins, and the news that they’ve decided to pass on Sanders makes a Perkins acquisition much more probable.
He’s certainly not as skilled as Sanders is, but Perkins can provide toughness and a mean streak to this team. He’s the type of player you hate if he’s on the other team, but when he’s on your squad, he’s just a hard-nosed player willing to do the dirty work to help a team maintain that mental edge and win the game.
Sanders was ideal from a skills perspective, and it would have been nice to see Sanders recover from his mental health issues as a member of the Warriors. We wish him luck in the future, though.