During commercial flights to such basketball outposts as Sioux Falls, S.D., and Oshkosh, Wisc., Juan Toscano-Anderson often talked with Santa Cruz Warriors general manager Ryan Atkinson about how he could catch on with Golden State.
On multiple occasions, Toscano-Anderson had turned down six-figure contracts overseas to make $35,000 a year in the G League, which offered something Europe did not: the possibility of an NBA call-up. But given that Toscano-Anderson was more role player than go-to option, he’d have to be patient.
As Atkinson detailed to him on those long flights, Toscano-Anderson’s only potential path to Golden State’s roster was tedious: He’d need to impress enough with Santa Cruz to make the NBA club’s summer league team. After impressing at summer league, he’d need to get a training-camp invite and impress there, too. Only then would Toscano-Anderson have a shot at a contract.
Undeterred, he spent 2½ years endearing himself to Golden State’s front office. Few could blame him, then, for struggling to sleep Wednesday night. After more than a half-decade trying to prove he belongs at the sport’s highest level, Toscano-Anderson — an East Oakland native — was about to sign a two-year guaranteed deal with his hometown NBA team.
The contract comes with a base salary next season of $1.7 million, but he is more interested in what all that money represents: perseverance in the face of long odds. In 2015, after averaging just 3.8 points per game…