Golden State Warriors Trade Rumors: How Valuable Is The #7 Pick?

Could the Golden State Warriors' #7 pick be used to get either Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala? Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

The Golden State Warriors' latest draft blog post made mention of the fact that seven draft picks in two years is probably too many.

With four picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, the possibility of the Warriors making a trade has been widely discussed.Yet while about a quarter of Golden State Warriors fans on this site apparently want to trade the 7th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the reality is that making a trade for that coveted young small forward might be difficult. So difficult in fact that Matt Moore of Pro Basketball Talk called it a fairytale in a Saturday post and listed unicorns and hippogriffs as possible options alongside the names of star small forwards Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, and Andre Iguodala.

Nevertheless, as Moore also predicted, we're likely to hear more about these moves in coming weeks no matter how unrealistic they might be. So as we discuss them and fantasize about the possibility of adding a star small forward, I figured it might be helpful to gather some insight from other SB Nation bloggers who know a thing or two about their team's players.

The original Contra Costa Times article by Marcus Thompson II that Moore was responding to mentioned Portland's Nicolas Batum, Memphis' Rudy Gay, Indiana's Danny Granger, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, and Atlanta forward Josh Smith as rumored targets for the Warriors.

For some insight on these rumors, I got in touch with a few SB Nation bloggers for a roundtable of sorts about how valuable that #7 pick is.

The following five bloggers participated in today's roundtable based upon the players mentioned in the rumors:

Obviously, these guys don't have the decision making power. But they do have some insight that might help ground some of our discussions in reality...or perhaps get us even more excited in one case. The following are the questions I asked to gauge their interest in such a deal coming to fruition along with what kind of package would be acceptable to them.

Question #1: Are you even willing to part with [insert your team's player here]?

Tom Lewis: "I'm not opposed to dealing Granger and looking way down the road it may be a prudent move, but this team is not in position to take a step back."

Dave Deckard: "In theory the Blazers should be willing to part with Nicolas Batum, although his free-agent status would make a sign-and trade in July a necessity, complicating matters. Also they value him so the package would have to be good."

Tom Lorenzo: "I'd certainly be willing to part with Rudy Gay, if the right offer came along. It's not at the point where we'd be moving him to get out of his contract or because the team doesn't think he's a borderline All-Star, it's just that he doesn't quite fit into our current system."

Kris Willis: "If I were the Hawks I would listen to offers for Smith and the No. 7 pick would be intriguing to me because it would bring some salary relief and would provide a young player with some upside."

Mike Levin: "Yes, absolutely. Despite the fact that Andre is a fantastic and fairly paid basketball player, the Sixers can't seriously contend with him as their best player. Also, redundancy with Evan Turner (his potential, to be exact) makes him expendable if picks and/or a big come back in return."

Commentary: So clearly we have the full range from "yes, please!" to "maybe" to "meh". Just something to note about Willis' response above: Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently wrote that he is "genuinely interested" in seeing how the Josh Smith situation plays out with him becoming a free agent in 2013 and lays out his reasoning for why Smith might not want to stay in Atlanta. At the very least, the Hawks do have a decision to make there. The question is what it might take to persuade them to move Smith this offseason and whether the #7 pick is enough to entice them.

Question 2: How much do you believe the #7 pick would help your team?

TLewis: "The fan base is really excited about this team and they desperately need those fans to show up at the Fieldhouse, so now is not the time to make a 'youth-movment' deal."

DD: "The 7th pick may be redundant for the Blazers, as they already hold #6 and #11...UNLESS they could package 7 and 11 to move up to 4 or 6 and 11 to move up to 3. That would assume they loved two higher-level players in this draft and loved the second more than Batum. It's a reach."

TLorenzo: "In our case, the #7 pick probably wouldn't help us as much as it would some other teams. We're playing 'win now' basketball in Memphis, and probably could use some veteran help more so than the lottery pick. But, with that said, it's a great asset to have, and I certainly wouldn't shy away from trading for it."

KW: "How much the seventh pick could help the team depends on who is available. That is hard to project until the combine is finished and teams really get serious about workouts. If the Hawks were picking this high then they should focus on someone capable of playing the center position like Andre Drummond should he slip. If no center is available then grabbing a starting caliber small forward."

ML: "I would remove any appendage of your choosing in exchange for the 7th pick. That's how much I believe it would help the team."

Commentary: We can probably go ahead and eliminate any Granger deal from contention - I agree with Lewis that it doesn't make much sense after the Pacers' showing in this year's playoffs. No matter how much some Warriors' fans might like Batum, Deckard is also right that the 7th pick doesn't do much for them and that's before the salary cap issues (see below). Levin has just sacrificed any leverage he might have had in this faux negotiation, which is fine with me.

Question #3: Would you be satisfied with a deal involving the #7 pick for [insert your team's player here]? What might you want in return from the Warriors?

TLewis: "I'm going with no on a deal involving the #7 pick and Danny Granger. Unless it was part of a package deal that was one of a couple of major moves by the team the team needs to hang on to Granger now and continue improving in other areas. They don't have anyone who can fill in that 18-20 points per game with the ability to score 35 and adding rookie forward to the mix will slow the team down."

DD: "The fly in the ointment with this trade is salary cap. The Blazers have room. The Warriors don't. That means Portland could take salary but not give it. Yet Portland is taking a pick in this trade, not salary, and trying to dump $10 million-ish in Batum's new contract on Golden State. Something's not right there. The only salary matching scenario that works ironically involves the player you'd love to get rid of: Biedrins. But his contract would freight up the Blazers so they'd likely demand MORE compensation to take him along with the 7th, like Klay Thompson. If you were willing to throw in Thompson with Biedrins and the #7 the Blazers would probably listen. Golden State fans will likely think that's too much.

Further complicating the scenario: If the Blazers and Warriors made this trade while Portland was well under the cap it'd go fine. But Portland's plan is to sign free agents and/or make other trades first then use Larry Bird rights to go over the cap in re-signing Batum. That means the Batum sign-and-trade to Golden State would make Batum into a de factor Base Year Compensation player. (The rules are set up to prevent teams from doing exactly this.) That means we'd have to find ANOTHER team with cap space to take on $5-6 million in salary from Portland to make this deal work.

Now we've created a pretzel so improbably twisted that we can say, "This almost certainly won't work for anybody involved."

TLorenzo: "I think the Grizzlies and Warriors could work out a deal in which both Rudy Gay and the #7 pick are involved. I think they'd be interested in quite a few players on the Warriors roster. David Lee and Stephen Curry come to mind, of course, but I also think they see value in Dorrell Wright. We're the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA. And while Wright is coming off a bit of a down season, we'd value his 3-point shooting greatly. So, I think there's some interest there. Oh, and Andris Biedrins! Yeah, we'd absolutely love to take him! He'd be a huge help... No, I'm just kidding. I don't think we'd want any part of Biedrins. Jeremy Tyler would intrigue me more than Biedrins. So... Yeah, no thanks."

KW: "Here is where it gets sticky for the Hawks. Dorrell Wright might work and would add some long distance shooting.

Overall I wouldn't be too upset if I found out Atlanta was exploring their options with Golden State and the No. 7 pick. I think the Hawks should be proactive in regards to Smith but it might be difficult until they get a sense for what teams he might be willing to sign an extension with."

ML: "Absolutely. We've tossed around Iguodala for Jefferson/Dorell/#7. Maybe even Biedrins, but he's just so bad that I don't know that I could handle it. If the Sixers can pull #7 without trading #15, that would just be too perfect. I'd do basically anything for the 7, if I haven't made that clear enough yet. Make it happen."

Conclusion

Levin's deal does work in the trade checker and I offered to raise funds for the Levin for Sixers GM campaign so we could make this happen. The question, assuming he doesn't stage a fan coup, is whether Sixers management is quite so certain that they can't contend with Iguodala as the star player.

Yet while we can't say for certain how likely a trade with the Sixers is, it's probably fair to assume that a trade with Indiana or Portland is out barring something bizarre occurring (and Deckard has far more about the complexity of the Batum situation here). Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com wrote that the Warriors are one of four teams in the running for Gay, but Lorenzo also noted just yesterday that, "when you think about taking Biedrins in order to get the No. 7 pick in this year's draft, I'm not sure how that helps us win now." Willis has noted at SBN Atlanta that the Hawks have the option of putting off a decision on Smith until the trade deadline.

In summary it might be fair to say that although getting a trade done might not be as difficult as finding a coachable hippogriff with a NBA-caliber basketball IQ, pulling off one of these deals might not be particularly easy.

Unless of course Mike Levin becomes the Sixers' GM.
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