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Kurtenbach: The Warriors need another center, but they don’t need Dwight Howard

Kurtenbach: The Warriors need another center, but they don’t need Dwight Howard

The Warriors might need another center, but they don’t need Dwight Howard.

The Warriors will reportedly bring in Howard for a visit next week. The eight-time NBA All-Star played in Taiwan last season, averaging 23.2 points per game, per Asia-Basket.com.

But the big man the Warriors need is already in the NBA — not embarrassing himself in the Taiwanese league and begging for stateside attention every 20 minutes — and he just finished showing that he’s one of the best players in the world.

I don’t know if you watched the FIBA World Cup this summer, it was on pretty early, but in an upset, Germany won the tournament, beating the USA in the semifinals and Serbia for the title.

From my perspective, the standout player in the epic USA-Germany game was Pacers center Daniel Theis, whom you might remember from his time in Boston.

We’ve long known that Theis is an undersized but rock-solid center. Watching him play the international game — and often as a power forward — was deeply informative about how he would look at a center on a five-out, heavy-motion team like the Warriors.

In short, it could be spectacular.

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Theis can play from the outside in on offense — knocking down 3-pointers, showing solid pick-and-pop ability, and impressive passing off the bounce.

Add respectable rim protection, and you have a tailor-made Warrior center.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had to have thought of the possibilities while he was on the sidelines as Team USA’s head coach. You couldn’t miss Theis give reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson the business in that game.

Alas, such possibilities will have to wait. Neither the Warriors nor Pacers are keen to make a trade in the weeks before the season. This is a strictly theoretical exercise for now.

But the Warriors shouldn’t do anything ahead of the season to preclude themselves from making an in-season move for Theis (or any other NBA-caliber player). Signing Howard would be such a move.

There’s no center available to the Warriors today that will positively change the course of their season. Sorry, Dwight.

If the Dubs are still looking for big-man help come the winter — and I imagine they will be — remember who the top option should be.

Theis is the No. 2 center option on a Pacers team that is stuck between stations.

His contract is for $9.1 million this season, with a $9.5 million team option for 2024-25.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Warriors would have to trade out $9.1 million or more to land him.

For the Pacers, that means acquiring Jonathan Kuminga, plus Cory Joseph or rookie Brandin Podziemski.

Again, that’s not a deal the Warriors or Pacers want to make today — it might prove too rich for the Warriors’ blood in perpetuity — but put a bit of tread on the tires of the season, and it might look good to both teams.

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The Warriors would acquire the kind of reliability at the backup center spot they’ve needed for years.

For the Pacers, it’s a chance to bring in a raw but talented player in Kuminga who can grow with their young core of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, and Myles Turner.

This is a win-win deal for down the line.

Meanwhile, adding Howard wouldn’t be a serious move for a team that, to a man, says it is serious about winning a title this season. Even if he’s only signed to be waived down the line, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze with Howard. If nothing else, it looks desperate — no one else seems interested in bringing Howard stateside again. What does it say about the Dubs that they’re considering it?

Give a young player a shot at the Warriors’ final roster spot and bide time until the team can understand what works and what doesn’t on the roster.

And if this team still needs a center a few weeks into the season, I doubt they call Howard.

But they should call the Pacers.