DIMES: Brace for big June decisions, Warriors fans

It has been all quiet on the Warriors front for weeks, just like every other team whose season ended without a playoff berth.

But not for much longer.

As the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Mavericks heat up, so will back-room dealing. Key dates are fast approaching, meaning there will be movement — first on the edges, and then toward the core.

Gary Payton II must decide whether to pick up his $9.1 million player option before June 19. The team must either re-sign Kevon Looney for $8 million or release him by June 24 and save $5 million. Chris Paul’s $30 million non-guaranteed contract kicks in on June 28 unless Golden State cuts or trades him.

Most realistic outcomes: The Warriors and Payton restructure to an extension, saving the Warriors tax money and getting the oft-injured guard more guaranteed money (two years, $12 million); Looney is released; Paul negotiates to extend his deadline into July, giving the Warriors more time to weigh trades and react to Klay Thompson’s situation.

A flurry of league activity will swirl around the NBA Draft on June 26 and when Klay Thompson and other free agents officially hit the market on June 30.

So enjoy the Finals, because it’s about to get real in Warriorsland.

Decade of a dynasty, wrapped

This is the 10th Finals since the Warriors’ first championship, and what a run it has been.

Golden State won four titles in the past 10 seasons, reaching the Finals twice more. Their six championship appearances lead the league since 2014.

Other teams to win at least four Larry O’Brien Trophies and make it to at least six Finals in 10 years? Bill Russell’s Celtics (11 rings in 13 years), the Showtime Lakers, Jordan’s Bulls, and the early-2000s Lakers.

That’s it.

Sustaining greatness is the hardest thing to do in sports. The Warriors were able to do it as well as anyone. It might not be pretty now, but 29 other franchises would trade their last 10 years with the Warriors in a heartbeat.

The second-round picks

The Warriors have brought 31 prospects into Chase Center for pre-draft workouts — roughly hour-long sessions of shooting drills, live 3-on-3 play and live-game simulations.

Of the 31, 25 have at least four years of college experience. Fourteen have at least five years of college seasons under their belt, taking advantage of loosened NCAA rules for transfers and COVID-year eligibility.

The Warriors clearly have a type.

Picking at No. 53, Golden State will have to find another player at the bottom of the draft who can contribute right away, like general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. did last year with Trayce Jackson-Davis. That’s a difficult undertaking, but it can pay off in a major way; the Warriors owe Jackson-Davis (picked 57th last year) just $6.5 million over the next three seasons.

That’s a steal for a quality backup center, especially for a club with the Warriors’ financial situation.

Jackson-Davis hit the ground running partly because he had four years of college experience from Indiana to build upon. The Warriors clearly think there’s a benefit to that.

What could have been with Porzingis?

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis torched the Mavericks in Game 1 of the Finals, returning after 38 days away from the court because of a calf strain. The 7-foot-3 center tallied 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks in 21 minutes.

The Celtics’ acquisition of Porzingis was highway robbery. Here’s how Brad Stevens and Co. swung it:

Celtics receive:

–Kristaps Porzingis (via Wizards)

–No. 25 pick in 2023 draft (via Grizzlies)

–2024 first-round pick (top-four protected, via Warriors)

Grizzlies receive:

–Marcus Smart (via Celtics)

Wizards receive:

–Tyus Jones (via Grizzlies)

–Danilo Gallinari (via Celtics)

–Mike Muscala (via Celtics)

–No. 35 pick in 2023 draft (via Celtics)

The Celtics got Porzingis and two first-round picks for Marcus Smart, a second-rounder and salary filler. Whew.

Washington dumped Porzingis, Bradley Beal, and Chris Paul last year. They wanted future assets for each — draft picks or young players with potential.

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The Warriors could’ve given the Wizards a better offer than Boston. But so could just about every other team. Porzingis’ value was low — he’s always injured, and the team adding him would need to extend him for big money (like the Celtics did).

Golden State would’ve been much better off with Porzingis. He’s the kind of rim-protecting stretch-five they need next to Draymond Green.

Trade envy isn’t totally useless. Executives are graded on the transactions they make and the ones they choose not to make. Incidents like the Porzingis deal should inform how the Warriors proceed. They can’t let more depressed assets with star potential slip away this summer — especially if the price is so low. They no longer have the luxury of being picky. They’re not above someone like Zach LaVine or Brandon Ingram.

Porzingis would’ve been great. The Warriors — and several other teams — are probably kicking themselves for letting Boston scoop him up. Find the next Porzingis.

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