Warriors forward Reggie Williams had 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes. Most of it was in garbage time, as the game was over by half time, and most of his minutes came in the second half.
But Williams, even in meaningless minutes, continued to impress. Over his first nine games, he averaged 12.3 points per game on 55.4 percent shooting. In his 18 days so far, he’s shown he can score, he can pass, he can shoot it from deep, and he can rebound a little. He’s certainly done enough to make the Warriors want him to stick around the rest of the season.
DON NELSON: “He’s pretty good. He still doesn’t know what he’s doing out there all the time because he still doesn’t know all the intricacies of the plays. I think if we have him for the summer in the summer league, and then in preseason, I’ll be able to do a lot of interesting stuff with him.”
But the Warriors find themselves in the same situation they were when they wanted to keep Anthony Tolliver. They have 15 players under contract. The league won’t allow a 16th (they only allowed the injury exception to sign a player to a 10-day). That means if Williams stays, somebody has to go.
The likely candidate is Devean George. He’s a free agent at season’s end. He’s played a lot more recently, thanks to the injuries, but he’s still not a priority as far as minutes go. He’s a veteran who they never expected to stick around after this season anyway. Easy call, right?
Not really. The Warriors are playing with eight guys, including Devean George (9 if and when rookie guard Stephen Curry comes back). Can they afford to let go of a guy has been serviceable? He’s shooting 44 percent from 3-point range this month (before going 1-for-3 at San Antonio). He can eat up minutes, which the Warriors desperately need.
Certainly, Golden State could waive George, petition the league for another exemption, and sign another guy to a 10-day contract. That would buy them 20 more days, albeit with a guy who would need to get acclimated. Or, the Warriors could keep George and cut Raja Bell.
Bell might not even return this season. If he does, Nellie said, it would be the last few games. Only problem with cutting Bell is that the Warriors want him. General manager Larry Riley has said he wouldn’t mind signing Bell for next season. If the Warriors cut him and another team picks him up, which is possible, the chances of the Warriors signing him back decrease. The Warriors wasn’t able to turn Raja Bell’s expiring contract into trade bait. So if he walks this offseason, the Warriors will have gotten nothing for swingman Stephen Jackson other than Vladimir Radmanovic, who has a player option for next season.
Should the Warriors give up on Bell now and keep the healthy body of Devean George? Should the axe Devean George to keep open the chance of bringing back Bell, and find healthy bodies elsewhere?
They’ve got two days to decide.