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Warriors Targeting Al Thornton for Bench Help

If everything goes according to plan, the Warriors will be signing small forward Al Thornton this week.

Thornton was bought out by the Wizards on Tuesday, officially at about 3 p.m. West Coast time. That means on Thursday at about 6 p.m., he will clear waivers and become a free agent. Nobody is going to claim him off waivers because Thornton — who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.8 million — is still owed about $590,000 the rest of the season.

So the Warriors, barring the unforseen, will be getting a 6-foot-8, 235-pound athletic small forward on their bench.


Once he clears waivers, he Warriors will sign him for a prorated amount of the veteran’s minimum, which for Thornton — in his fourth year — comes out to about $200,000. Get this. The whole purpose, on Thornton’s end, of agreeing to the buyout was so he could sign with the Warriors. Certainly, Duffy, Thornton’s agent, probably sold him on the idea. But when was the last time you heard a player wanted off a team so they could sign with the Warriors?

The Warriors wanted Thornton in the 2007 draft. In fact, some thought, if I remember correctly, the Warriors would have Charlotte draft Al Thornton on their behalf with the No. 8 pick since the Warriors would be trading Jason Richardson for that pick. Obviously, the Bobcats drafted Brandan Wright and Thornton wound up going No. 14 to the Clippers. The Warriors took Marco Belinelli at No. 18.

Thornton’s benefit that year was that he was really old for the draft, which translated to ready-to-play-right-away. TheWarriors needed someone who was ready to play. Thornton came out of the locks smoking for a bad Clippers team. Check out his numbers the first two seasons:

07-08: 12.7 points, 42.9 FG%, 4.5 rebounds, 27.3 minutes, 79 games (31 starts)

08-09: 16.8 points, 44.6 FG%, 5.2 rebounds, 37.4 minutes, 71 games (67 starts)

Not bad. To be sure, he’s not great. He’s a scorer at heart. Despite his physical attributes, he doesn’t do much else save for rebound every now and again. That’s why Washington was not going to pick up his $3.9 million option. Thornton wasn’t going to get any time behind Rashard Lewis (acquired earlier this season in the Gilbert Arenas deal), Maurice Evans (acquired just before the deadline in the Kirk Hinrich deal) and the healed Josh Howard.

Thornton appeared in 49 games for the Wizards this season, averaging 8.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in a career-low 21.9 minutes. He hadn’t played more than 19 minutes in either of the last seven games. But the Warriors see some potential in Thornton because of his size, athleticism and scoring ability. And they seriously need the bench help.

Thornton may join the Warriors in Boston if he signs quickly, but he probably won’t play right away. If he actually signs, his debut could come Sunday in Philadelphia or Tuesday in Cleveland.

Marcus Thompson

  • shocker

    Wow! Someone wants to come TO the Gun Shot Wounds?

    What are the chances that someone else picks him up off of waivers?

  • sco_lo_pro

    Steinmetz is down on this move but he is the same guy who complains about Warriors athleticism? Clearly a good cheap pick up to fortify the bench and gets us an athlete that can match up against teams W’s have trouble with like ATL. Not earth shattering but a step in the right direction no doubt.

  • dw

    I can’t lie I always liked Thornton. Screw Steinmetz. He’s earned a name (albeit a small one) for himself in this league and even though I really don’t believe this part… He wanted to come here. When a team talkes about depth you need guys like Thornton. Riley and Lacob bought themselves another week or two. Max..

  • robert rowell

    rebounding, defense, true backup point guard. yeah, riley’s really doing a bang up job addressing the obvious and long standing needs of this team *sarcasm*

    this, like a lot of FO moves, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, unless we’re talking longer term–and i know from experience the W’s FO never thinks long term. this isn’t going to give us a playoff push, face it, we’re not making the playoffs. so then what? renting a guy for 20 some games? why not resign kelenna? let him look nice in a suit on the bench and flex during timeouts…

    let’s get Tropical

  • joe

    Kevin Love pwned the W’s on the boards so why not add Thorton and get some more scoring.

    Why would he come here? He’ll get to play and he fits in with the weak D team. He’s also probably a West Coast based player.

  • W’s in 2010

    I hope Keith Smart visits Andris Biedrins in Latvia again this summer, and they stay there.

  • W’s in 2010

    For good.

  • deano

    I hope that Keith Smart experiments by running Thornton at SF with the starters, and moving D Wright to SG for 5-10 minutes a game. It might work. Dwright can handle the load defensively, but it is his offense at SG that I wonder about. The Warriors desperately need a big center, and trading Monta seems like the only way to get one. For that reason, it is time to see what life without Monta would be like.

  • Mr B

    The Thornton deal is a dog and cat move. The Dubs need the whole freakin zoo to have some decent chance to compete in this league.

    As I stated before, step 1 is to fire Biedrins. He sucks up cap space that we can use to hunt for a big man. He flatly sucks!! Lee is semi-decent but come on, on the grand scheme of things, how much can the poor schmuck help?

    At some point, the Dubs need to do a reality check and decide what they want to do about Monta and Curry. Love Monta’s toughness but we need big, athletic and proven players to compete.

  • haastheman

    Doesn’t matter how much you score if you can’t stop anybody. Tonight’s game was a clear example of that. Not only could the warriors not get stops late in the fourth, but the pacers scored at ease. I knew there would be problems with defense with Smart as the coach. It might not matter who he had on the court, I don’t know if he knows how to coach defense. He’s been the defensive coach for the warriors the past three seasons. Forget about us being the warriors, if you were a big name player would you want to come and play for Keith Smart??? This team sucks from the make up of the players to the makeup of the coaching staff and front office. Too bad the finalization of the sell wasn’t approved sooner. Cohans final middle finger to the bay, delaying the sale of the team holding out for more money and prohibiting us from making any kind of structural moves. We might be better off putting monta at the point and letting curry play the two and sitting in zone. The offense would move sorta like when it was baron and monta, with monta playing barons role. Baron was scoring point. Since we’re gonna be stuck with monta we might as well maximize his effectiveness. Players like him (Baron, A.I., Marbury, Francis) are most effective when they are the primary ball handlers. And yes, it’s no surprise that none of these players have ever won championships.

  • haastheman

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Bosh got exposed in the playoffs and we could get him for Curry, Lee, and Biedrens. That actually makes sense for both teams.

  • Johnny Utah

    I like the move.. It doesn’t fix our major need of a post presence but Thornton is a nice piece to add. I liked what I saw from him a in college and with the Clippers.

    We might as well start him in the post because he is automatically tougher down low than Lee and Hasbendrins combined..

  • dubfan

    If Bosh got exposed in the playoffs, why would we want him? Not a good trade…and no way he is worth both Lee and Curry. Beidrens is a throw in on any trade at this point, however.

  • haastheman

    Exposed for what miami needs. Monta and Bosh together would be a nice 1 2 for our system.

  • Andrew

    We need to change our name to “The Golden State Garbage Patch.” So depressed and frustrated about how soft and inept the team seems to be, year after year.

  • AKBear

    Marcus, question for you…

    The Warriors need to upgrade somehow, but they really don’t have many bargaining chips. Monta might be their best tradable asset that could help the W’s get more length and depth.

    The Wizards need to find a top flight complement to Walls. Seems like Monta could fit this bill.

    There are a couple of pieces on the Wizards that could fit the W’s bill. Nick Young, 6’7″ off-guard. Blatche or McGee both offer nearly 7-foot length in the middle. Could there be some combination of players that could result in a trade here?

    Seems like this could be a win-win.

    Let’s just suppose that a trade could be made, the W’s could start a team that looks like this next year:

    PG – Curry
    SG – Young
    SF – Wright
    PF – Lee
    C – McGee or Blatche? I like Blatche’s upside given that he has increased his scoring and rebounding every year in the league and he’s shooting his FTs at over 80%.

    Will Young/McGee or Blatche be an improvement over Monta/Biedrins?

    Bench: Williams, Biedrins, Amundson and Udoh from current players. Lin and Bell are also under contract for next year, but I would look for upgrades.

    Draft: Do so wisely; find that diamond in the rough. In order to do this, the W’s need new management. I heard Kawakami talk highly about someone named David Griffin who is a VP with Cavs, who worked under Kerr with the Suns. Would he come to W’s?

    Mr. Lacob, it’s your move…

  • W’s in 2010

    Time to start Udoh? Everytime he plays he seems to impact the game positively. And his +/- reflects that, leads the team. And in this game specifically he was +10. Biedrins is putting up putrid numbers lately, ANYBODY can duplicate those stats. So start Udoh. Biedrins might be better off going against back-ups anyways.

  • http://www.jayshealthycoffee.com Jai

    Al thorton can not play. I’m not just saying it either. He Shoot bricks and has a low BB IQ. Signing Thorton means not only is there no light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel just got darker. You’ll see

  • Joan Crawford’s Expiring Contract

    I liked Al Thornton in college. Since then, he has failed to be good enough for two teams considerably worse than the Warriors. Hard to be too optimistic.

  • AKBear

    Interesting discussion on KNBR this evening about possible motives behind 2 recent Warrior moves.

    Murphy’s agent is Dan Fagan, someone who has been a public enemy number one with past Warrior ownership/management (i.e., Cohan/Robert Rowell). So Warriors curried favor with Fagan by helping to get Murphy delivered to contending team. Can’t hurt if Warriors are interested in Nene (a Fagan client).

    The Al Thornton deal is another head scratcher somewhat until you learn that he is a client of another well-connected NBA agent, Bill Duffy, who is based in the Bay Area. He lists Yao and Oden among his clients. Hmmmmmm….

  • robert rowell

    udoh shooting 22% in the last 6 games? averaging 4 boards? uh vlad rad can do that too. kid hasn’t earned the playing time he’s got.

  • K@libug@n

    Love this pick-up! Go Thornton!

    ~Vice Ganda Fan~

  • W’s in 2010

    Watch a game, dude. People who just look at the boxscore don’t understand Udoh’s value. We play better when Udoh is on the floor. He boxes out, he changes shots, there isn’t an expressway straight to the hoop. Biedrins/Lee is the worst defensive PF/C combo in the league. You can’t continue to play those two together.

  • sjbytes

    Greg Monroe daily update….13 points and 9 rebounds. The Larry Riley Epic O’doh experiment still a failure.

  • cmondubs

    Another lost season for my dubs. Smarts coaching is good sometimes and confusing at other times. I really hate his sub patterns and SC can’t sneeze without Smart being in his face. Smart is a good “teaching” coach but he hasn’t shown he’s a good “game” coach. He probably won’t be around after season so I would like to ask you fans who or what kind of coach should be coaching us next year: an experience proven coach, a top assistant, a young new coach. I don’t follow any other nba stuff until playoff time so I’m not familiar with potential coach prospects. I would like to hear your opinions. Who’s out there for us!

  • joe suspect

    traded from one losing program; waived from another.
    I hope we don’t sign him for next year.

  • lobo

    Go no further than Jerry Sloan or Jeff Van Gundy…Keith did a pretty good job, but he is no Sloan or Van G…Let the team find a nice spot for him next year as he is signed on for 2 years. By the way I am still a Riley fan….he did a terrific job in getting things off the ground under the circumstances

  • haastheman

    Might as well give Udoh minutes now, the season is lost. Do we have this years pick or not? I thought we didn’t but i heard Riley talking as if we did. If we do have our pick we might as well start dumping and figuring out what we have as far as the players who haven’t gotten many minutes this year. With the current structure of the team we are only going to get players who come from losing organizations. We need to make the warriors an attractive place for players to WANNT to come. Nobody wants to play or Riley and Smart. As an oakland native, i actually think the warriors should move to SF. In terms of quality and professionalism the two properties are miles apart. There’s a mind state and stigmatism about oakland that won’t be broken easily. How many pro franchises have players that lose a season because a moped accident. I think that’s actually more difficult for an adult to do then shooting yourself in the leg. I see grown people sticking guns in their belt all the time on TV, never seen any on a moped though. Move to SF, overhaul the front office, get a coach in here who players know and respect, and STOP LETTING MONTA DO WARRIOR COMMERCIALS. I think my nine year old niece speaks better then this kid.

  • philb

    Not a bad pickup for the Dubs. Al will add some scoring punch to the 2nd unit, take some of the pressure off of Reggie Williams and provide a backup for Dorell Wright. He’ll also have a chance to lockup a roster spot in the offseason, which is probably why he’s specifically requesting the Warriors. It would be nice if he could defend opposing small forwards every now and then but oh well it is what it is…

  • Josh

    The Warriors would be better off picking up Azibuicke and waiting for him to heal. Thorton is Maggette .5. Meaning just as bad on D and half as good on offense but thinks he is as good.

  • Jet BlackBeard

    I like Buke as much as anybody, but he is not playing this year, so there’s no point in anybody picking him up now. Anybody with interest will look at him during the off-season.

    Regarding something unrelated, does anybody else thing we should drop Acie Law? This losing streak has coincided with his return. Maybe Arroyo would be better, but I would at least play Lin before Law.

  • Bill

    None of this addresses the major problems in our interior game. With Biedrins we play 4 on 5 night after night. Udoh, sure, he needs minutes, but is he really a center? Thornton is just showcasing himself here to get a contract elsewhere; the Warriors are notorious for letting themselves be used to jack up the price somewhere else. He doesn’t add what we need although maybe he can make a layup since obviously Amundsen can not. Azubukie? Love him but chances are he will never be the same player after that atrocious injury. And as for the suggestion that we look at Jeff Van Gundy? God. I will shoot myself. He is an idiot almost on the level of the “Czar” Fratello. And Mike Brown. They know about much basketball as Michelle OBama. Biedrins has to go. Has to. He is, not to be too crude, a pussy—too nice to survive in this league. Return to Latvia, hit the weight room, count your money, but my goodness Smart you can not start a player who gives us NOTHING> What a waste of time it is to watch him stroll around the court fixing his arm band. Lee has heart but not the size to be a 5. Curry and Monta are reasons to buy tickets but maybe that one writer is right when he says we should start Dorell, especially considering that Curry is often benched for long stretches anyway while Smart burns Monta to the ground with extensive minutes. The guy is tired; Atlas even shrugged. Thornton? He’s Carl Landry in disguise. A knucklehead who wants shots. The beat goes on.

  • Ron

    Washington is pretty bad and they basically cut Thornton, so how exactly is he going to make us better? Now if this bumps Biedrens to the bench I am all for it!

  • W’s in 2010

    I’m not a fan of the Thornton signing but the reason they dumped him was because they have a guy making over $20M/yr(Shard) and Josh Howard playing the 3.

  • W’s in 2010

    BTW, shouldn’t we be worried by the type of guys we’ve been targeting of late? Jamison, Al Thornton, Nate Robinson… these are score first types who play little D. What happened to the emphasis on defense??

  • Yoda

    You can separate Jamison from those other two. Jamison would have been a cap move. The other two are cheap, though if I ever see Nate Robinson in a W’s uniform I’ll drop the team like a hot rock.

  • Lunchpail Smith

    Looking at Thornton’s stats this year, and only once does he break 10 points in under 24 min. a game. Currently, he needs the ball and time on the floor to be comfortable. How will he fit in with the reserve unit? It does seem an inexpensive upgrade to our bench, which has been playing much better recently – Acie Law included. This year and next I’d like to see more consistent subsitution patterns, which has happened more of late. It seems Smart needed over half a season to begin to thaw after coming out from Nellie’s influence.
    Udoh is not a bust. He has very much impressed me with what isn’t in the boxscore. His presence is felt in the paint and he decreases the opponents shooting percentage. No one on the Warriors has done that since Manute Bol. Greg Monroe does not do this, at all. And he does seem a bit rushed when he has the ball in the post or an open 10 footer, but the stroke is there.
    One more thing, I’d like to see Smart make the focus of practice for the rest of the season two things:
    1. ball denial/aggressiveness on help defense (which I’ve seen happening more in the last month than in the past three years) and
    2. Getting people the ball in their favored spots early and often in games.
    Monta: mid-range jumper.
    D. Wright: 3-ball from the corner.
    Curry: drive to the lane and step-back rainbow jumper. But most of all…David Lee: 14 footer from the elbow. One pump-fake like he’s going to drive to the hoop and then stroke it. He hasn’t been taking this shot with confidence. (tooth fragments still in the elbow? :-)
    If David Lee hits this shot once a quarter then the entire dynamic of our offense and floor spacing changes…lanes open up for Curry to drive and dish. We begin to win close games. Against tougher teams. On the road.
    And we miss the playoffs by only two or three games!

  • JimPunkrockford

    i must admit, i too really liked his game whan he was part of the shawn livingston clipshow. i think adding powe would of filled a more urgent need but i like thornton