The 10-year marriage between the Warriors and center Adonal Foyle came to an abrupt end Monday when both sides reached a contractual buyout agreement, making Foyle an unrestricted free agent.
Foyle, the team’s all-time leading shot blocker who has spent his entire career with Golden State, had roughly $18 million remaining on the seven-year, $42 million contract he signed before the 2004-05 season. But his playing time diminished significantly when Don Nelson took over as coach last season and installed an up-tempo style that didn’t match up with Foyle’s defensive-minded abilities.
“Clearly, the Warriors wanted to move into a different direction,” Foyle said via telephone from New York, where he is spending the offseason training. “I thought it was important for me to go someplace where I can get the opportunity to play and be part of a system that I think I can thrive in.”
The Warriors drafted Foyle with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1997 draft and finished last season tied for third with San Antonio’s Tim Duncan as the longest-tenured players with one team. He finished his career at Colgate as the NCAA’s all-time leader in blocked shots — and became the Warriors’ blocks leader in 2004. But his offense was a liability to coaches, giving him inconsistent minutes on the floor.
Under Nelson last season, Foyle averaged 9.9 minutes per game, a big drop from his 23.7 average the previous year. Foyle, who is from the Caribbean island of Canouan, also became a U.S. citizen March 13.
“We will certainly miss Adonal’s presence, both on and off the court,” Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin said in a statement released by the team. “However, we think this move is in the best interest of both parties as we move forward. Adonal was a true professional in every sense of the word during his decade-long tenure with the Warriors. We wish him the best as he begins the next phase of his career.”
Foyle, 32, will now weigh out his options. He will likely sign with an Eastern Conference team — Orlando has been mentioned — with a system that fits his style of play.
“I wish the Warriors all the success in the world,” Foyle said.