It’s been a hot minute since he plied his trade on the hardwood in the Bay Area, but it’s worth noting that Nico Mannion is still kinda-sorta on the Golden State Warriors‘ ledger. That is, he’s technically the Dubs’ restricted free agent, as far as the NBA is concerned.
Of course, the former Arizona standout hasn’t suited up for Steve Kerr’s crew since May of 2021. Instead of returning to Golden State on another two-way deal and riding the pine or fighting for a steady spot, he opted to spend the 2021-22 campaign overseas with Virtus Bologna.
Mannion’s plan was to play heavy minutes for the Italian club, developing his game and increasing his NBA stock in the process. Unfortunately, some things beyond his control ended up making last season an unmitigated disaster for the 21-year-old.
Regardless, one high-ranking exec believes that Mannion could eventually find his way back to the US. Whether that means it could happen soon or as a member of the Warriors might be another matter, though.
East GM: Mannion Will Get Another Shot
Mannion definitely had his moments splitting time between the Warriors and the Sea Dubs during the 2020-21 campaign. However, a severe intestinal infection (which required hospitalization), a bout with Covid and injuries largely precluded him from showing out in Serie A.
In the end, he averaged just 5.3 points, 2.8 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per contest across all competitions. Nevertheless, an Eastern Conference GM insisted to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that Mannion remains on the NBA radar, even as the Warriors door appears to be closing.
“He looked better playing in Italy than his numbers showed. There were some good reports on him. He will get another chance in the league but it is not going to be with Golden State, or it’s unlikely that happens soon,” the GM said.
“They like the [Ryan Rollins] kid they got in the second round and they’re going to give [Mac] McClung a shot to make the team. They’re loaded in the backcourt.”
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Where Could He Go?
During his lone year with the Dubs and in stints with the Italian national team, the 6-foot-2 floor general has shown a creative flair offensively. Alas, his shortcomings on the other end of the court could be working against him.
“Mannion, he struggles defensively, and it’s hard to get minutes in Europe that way,” said the GM.
Still, the league decision-maker sees the potential for opportunities with other NBA clubs in the future, specifically those that are in earlier stages of progression than the title-contending Warriors.
“If you’re a rebuilding team in the NBA though, he’s worth a look. If you’re Houston or Indiana or Utah, he makes some sense to at least keep track of, maybe bring him in during the season.”
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