OAKLAND — About 1 p.m. on Wednesday, less than 24 hours before the NBA trade deadline, Patrick McCaw was the last Golden State Warrior left on the practice court at the club’s training facility.
The slumping sophomore was getting up free throws, surrounded by a crew of Warriors’ staffers, including Willie Green, one of the team’s assistant coaches for player development.
After a surprisingly strong rookie season, McCaw has been a disappointment by nearly measure — from the eye test to the stat line — in Year 2 . He’s been all but unplayable in recent weeks. He hasn’t hit a 3-pointer in 2018.
His struggles have become so serious that McCaw volunteered to be demoted to the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors, if only briefly.
“I just asked if I could go down there and get some consistent run in, get up and down, get my conditioning right, just play,” McCaw explained. “… That’s all I really want to do.”
Head coach Steve Kerr obliged. McCaw will suit up for Santa Cruz on Friday night.
“He’s somebody I believe in. We believe in as an organization and he’s got a bright future,” Kerr said. “But he needs to play more. So, we’ll give him a couple games down there.”
McCaw is among a contingent of struggling Warriors’ wings. The group also includes Andre Iguodala, Omri Casspi and Nick Young. Iguodala has fallen out of the death lineup, Casspi hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer since Jan. 6 and Young’s suspect defense makes him impossible to deploy in certain matchups.
If there’s one spot the Warriors could use an upgrade at, it would be a wing who can provide some offensive punch while also holding his own on the defensive end.
To land such a player, the Warriors could part with a surplus center — like JaVale McGee.
The veteran big man was out of the rotation before an ankle injury put Jordan Bell’s promising debut season on hold. With Bell out, McGee has been back in the mix in recent weeks, always infusing energy into the lineup — and Oracle Arena — whenever Kerr summons him from the end of the bench.
“I show what I’ve been showing — what I’ve always done,” McGee said of his return to the rotation. “I score at the rim. I protect the basket and I run the floor.”
Amid the ugliness of the 125-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, McGee was a bright spot — at least for the home crowd that cheered his entry into the rout.
No Warrior has been the subject of more speculation in recent weeks, which is nothing new for McGee.
“I’ve been traded plenty of times,” McGee said. “So, it’s business. It’s the NBA. It’s how my career goes. So, I’m not really worried about that. If I get traded, I get traded. If I don’t, I don’t. I don’t want to get traded, but, if I do, I’m not complaining or bad mouthing anyone. It’s a business.”
McGee has been jettisoned twice. In 2012, the backup big was part of a three-team swap that included Young, his friend and current teammate.
There’s one Warrior who won’t say much in the runup to the trade deadline — the head coach. Kerr, who was traded six times in his NBA career doesn’t offer any perspective to his players, like McGee, who could be on the move.
“None. I don’t say a word.”