The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner: February 8. The league bumped up the deadline this year, to make sure that any and all trades would occur before the All-Star break.
The deadline is always an exciting time in the NBA, and with so many stars potentially on the trading block, this year figures to be no different. So how do the Golden State Warriors fit in this year’s bonanza? Let’s take a look . . .
Are the Warriors a “buyer” or a “seller”?
Umm . . . umm . . . is this a trick question?
The Warriors really don’t land in either category. Playoff-bound teams are almost always buyers, but the Warriors don’t have any pressing needs to address.
Even if they want to address some of those needs (bench shooting, and, uhh . . . yeah that’s kind of it), the team is too deep. There’s next to no chance of the Dubs swinging a trade that would net them a player worthy of cracking a rotation that’s the deepest in the league.
So if they’re not buyers, they must be sellers, right? Well, not really. Golden State doesn’t have much incentive to sell. They rely on almost their entire roster, and are unlikely to get any notable future assets for selling the players they’re not currently relying on.
If they do make a move, it would likely be trading JaVale McGee to open up a full-time, guaranteed roster spot for Quinn Cook, who is on a two-way contract.
So in that sense, the Warriors are “buyers”. It’s just that the buying they’re considering is in-house.
What are the Warriors’ top tradable assets, and what players are “untradeable”?
Realistically, the Warriors only have three tradable assets: McGee, Kevon Looney, and Damian Jones.
Everyone else is either truly untouchable (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson), all but untouchable (Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston), playing too important of a role for a championship favorite to get rid of (Omri Casspi, David West, Zaza Pachulia, Nick Young, and Patrick McCaw), or Jordan Bell (Jordan Bell).
Of the three tradable assets, it seems unlikely that the Warriors will part with Looney or Jones. Looney has been playing strong basketball as of late, and provides inside-out defense that no one else on the team does. That could be critical, especially against the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pick and roll.
Jones is tearing up the G-League, and the team is unlikely to want to give him up just to open up space.
If there’s a trade, it will almost surely be McGee. He’s the only truly tradable asset, given the situation.
What holes will the Warriors try and fill at the deadline?
There’s only one hole that both needs to be filled, and has a strong chance at being addressed: bench shooting.
Young is an excellent shooter, but after that the team drops off. Casspi is a solid shooter, but much happier cutting than spacing. Livingston lives within 15 feet of the hoop, and McCaw and Iguodala are shooting 25.9% and 22.5% from deep, respectively.
Golden State’s bench has made only 109 3-pointers all season. If there’s a fixable hole, it’s right there.
What is the dream trade?
Trading Kevon Looney for Karl-Anthony Towns would classify as my dream trade.
Realistically though, the Warriors don’t have a lot of options. Rather, they don’t have a lot of options that actually benefit the team.
Addressing the bench shooting is their best hope. And Cook - who’s shooting 42.3% from deep in Santa Cruz - fits that profile better than anyone the Warriors can trade for.
Moving McGee, who’s been a great teammate, to a place where he’ll get minutes would be a positive for everyone. And it would open up space for Cook. As simple as it may sound, that’s the dream trade.
In the Warriors’ three-year run of making the NBA Finals, they haven’t made a deadline trade once. There’s a reason for that. Teams as dominant as the Warriors simply don’t have much room for improvement mid-season.
The opportunities for growth are minimal, and the opportunities to disrupt rhythm and chemistry are many. It’s high-risk, low-reward.
Don’t expect the Warriors to make a deadline trade. And if they do, you can bet your boots it won’t be a big one.