The Golden State Warriors roster continues to evolve as each day passes this offseason, with any resemblance to their former championship squad continually diminishing. The once dominant force recently lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson to injury, and traded away Andre Iguodala. This week the team continued their makeover trend after releasing veteran bench player Shaun Livingston.
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While contributions from players such as Durant and Thompson dwarf Livingston’s 5.4 points, 2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per–game efforts, he played an important role as the team enjoyed an incredible dynasty including five straight trips to the NBA Finals, with three of those trips ending with the Larry O’Brien trophy parading across the bay area. Livingston often played clutch minutes off the bench for Golden State, often illustrating his lock down defensive skills and sneaky mid–range jump shot. The move comes certainly as a direct response to the sign–and–trade deal which granted the Warriors right to All–Star guard D’Angelo Russell and his newly signed a hefty contract.
Livingston joined the Warriors prior to the 2014 season after playing for eight other teams after the Los Angeles Clippers drafted him out of high school in 2004. Livingston never spent no more than 2 years with each team until his days as a Warrior, eventually establishing himself as a true NBA journeymen. Livingston’s career infamously took an unfortunate turn however, as he suffered an ugly knee injury while going up for a fast break layup during the 2007 season, tearing three ligaments and jeopardizing his career. No more than a year later, Livingston worked his way back into the league, signing with the Miami Heat and capping off a truly impressive comeback.
At age 33, reports continue to speculate a possible retirement for Livingston following his release, but a decision remains unmade. “And just more so from a physical standpoint. If I’m healthy and having fun, then I want to play. But physically, if I’m not … Like, I put so much work in my body just to get back to playing basketball, let alone get to this point where I’m at. So now that it’s getting harder. Like this year, I’ve struggled with injuries more than any other year I’ve been on the Warriors,” said Livingston after questioned about his career plans.
If Livingston calls it a career, his journey from the operating room to a three–time NBA Champion concludes to inspire those battling back from injury across all sporting platforms for years to come.