Replacing Klay? Anderson, Melton know the Warriors’ history

Replacing Klay? Anderson, Melton know the Warriors’ history

SAN FRANCISCO — Two of the three biggest Warriors’ offseason additions arrived at Chase Center and took the podium Monday, introducing themselves as official new members of the organization.

De’Anthony Melton, the defensive-minded guard, held up a No. 8 jersey — a number that may send flashbacks of Monta Ellis. Kyle Anderson, after long admiring the Warriors from afar (at least when he wasn’t playing against them) officially joined Golden State and will wear No. 1 like he did in Memphis.

Melton, 26, signed a reported one-year, $12.8 million deal with the Warriors, a contract that went official on Monday shortly after he took the podium. Anderson, a rangy, high-I.Q. forward nicknamed “Slo-Mo,” came to the Warriors in the six-team sign-and-trade involving Klay Thompson.

They make up two-thirds of the Warriors’ substantial acquisitions this summer in which the club turned Thompson and Chris Paul into Anderson, Melton and sharpshooter Buddy Hield.

In a summer of dramatic change for Golden State, the trio of rotation-ready veterans will be tasked with improving the team in its first season without the championship core of Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green since 2011.

“Understanding everything they went through the past 13 years they were together, the four championships they won, there’s nothing I can do to replace it emotionally, mentally,” Melton said.

Kyle Anderson holds a Golden State Warriors jersey during a press conference at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, July 8, 2024. The Warriors have acquired Anderson during the trade for Klay Thompson. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

“All I can do is go out there and play my game, play hard, and show why other fan bases love me, too. And everything I bring to the table. I love to win, I love my ability to figure out ways to win, and I think that’s what this organization appreciates the most — figuring out ways to win no matter what.”

As a free agent, Melton sought an organization with continuity and a strong culture, he said, in addition to a medical staff he could trust. The guard missed most of last season with a stress reaction that turned into a fracture in his back. He said he has felt 100% for the past six weeks or so and said he’s vying to prevent any further issues.

“It was just understanding that I was what they were looking for, and what the organization was lacking, maybe, for the last couple years — in terms of defense, versatility and shooting — are all things I bring to the table,” Melton said.

Both Melton and Anderson played against the Warriors in the 2022 playoffs when they were with the Grizzlies. Melton spent the intervening two years with the 76ers, while Anderson played for the Timberwolves.

“The tradition’s been here, the style of play,” Anderson, 30, said. “It looks like Coach Kerr lets his guys play with a lot of freedom. A lot of high I.Q. basketball over here. I always admired it from a distance, obviously, except when I was playing against them. They’ve always done things the right way over here. So it was a pretty easy call for me.”

If Melton fits in as a hybrid combo guard both on and off the ball next to Steph Curry à la Donte DiVincenzo, Anderson’s defensive versatility and passing acumen should allow him to mesh in multiple lineups as a front court option. He views himself as a point guard in a 6-foot-9 body and has always been a high-assist, low-turnover player as a secondary playmaker.

This past postseason, Anderson was perhaps Minnesota’s most effective defender against Mavericks star Luka Doncic. He’ll likely draw similar defensive assignments for the Warriors. Alongside Green, Anderson should fortify Golden State’s defense.

Anderson and Green have something else in common: a high-profile incident with Rudy Gobert. At the end of the 2022-23 season, Anderson and teammate Gobert got into a heated argument during a timeout, which ended with Gobert punching his teammate in the chest.

Anderson said the incident quickly blew over as he and Gobert smoothed things over. It made Minnesota’s team chemistry stronger, he said, and he and Gobert remain tight to this day.

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“We got home that night, he called me on the phone and we spoke about it like grown men,” Anderson said. “We hashed things out, it was over within 15 minutes of the phone call. We get along, and we got along before that. That happens more than people think or know, ours just happened to be out there during a game. We kind of both embarrassed ourselves and it kind of blew up. But that happens all over the league, it is what it is.”

Beyond Anderson and Melton, the Warriors also brought in Hield, who just wrapped up Olympic qualifiers for the Bahamas. The Bahamian National Team, coached by Warriors assistant Chris DeMarco, lost to Spain in Valencia to miss out on a bid.

While Melton and Anderson are each two-way players who excel defensively, Hield is more one-dimensional. One of the league’s preeminent 3-point shooters, the Warriors hope Hield can supply the kind of perimeter shooting Thompson used to provide.

Whether each can play up to their ability could determine how much, if at all, better the Warriors will be.

“I hate thinking ahead about like, ‘What we’re going to do,’ or, ‘We gotta do this,’ ” Anderson said. “It’s really good to go into training camp with an open mind, with a fresh start. Just ready to get to work, ready to learn, ready to get on the same page with everybody and go from there.”