After some notable cuts on Friday night, it appears the Golden State Warriors are set to enter the 2021-22 season with 14 players on the roster — leaving that 15th spot open for now.
Minutes after the team’s 119-97 preseason finale victory, head coach Steve Kerr informed Jordan Bell, Avery Bradley, Mychal Mulder and Gary Payton II that they were being waived from the roster.
Surprise! The Warriors decide to keep their 15th roster spot open — for now — by waiving two players they strongly weighed keeping: Avery Bradley and Gary Payton II.
Michael Mulder and Jordan Bell were also waived after Golden State's preseason finale. https://t.co/tQ4lrfhWFE
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 16, 2021
The cutting of Bradley (two-time NBA All-Defensive Team) and Payton (2020-21 G-League Defensive Player of the Year) came as a surprise to many who believed the Warriors could benefit from either of their on-ball defensive prowesses. Electing to waive both of these options, Golden State no longer has a defensive specialist on the roster.
When asked what the franchise plans to do with that final roster spot moving forward, Kerr noted that the team will consider their options as they approach the season-opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
“We’ll be discussing that the next few days,” Kerr said, per NBC Sports.
As of right now, there’s a belief that one of these recently-cut players, most notably Bradley or Payton, could rejoin the team with that final roster spot.
“It was very difficult to release all of those guys,” Kerr said. “They’re all NBA players.
“Avery, obviously, has put together a great career. He’s healthy. He played really well, especially once he got his legs underneath him. Mike Mulder has helped us the last couple years. He’s a wonderful teammate and competitor. Jordan Bell, it was really fun to have him here. He’s grown up a lot, on and off the floor. He had a great camp. Same with Gary.”
While it may be vacant for now, it’s hard to see that 15th spot remaining open for too much longer.