Last week, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers gave reporters a pretty standard line about how everyone is talking as the 2018 NBA trade deadline approaches, but he was pretty evasive when asked about specifics.
However, with Zach Lowe of ESPN reporting that the Warriors made an inquiry about Avery Bradley, we get a little glimpse into their activity level and confirmation that they are actively trying to make an upgrade on the wing (even if it was the obvious area of need).
The Warriors are trying to beef up their bench given wobbly play from Andre Iguodala, Patrick McCaw, Omri Casspi, and Nick Young. They inquired about Avery Bradley, but got nowhere, league sources say. That’s not surprising; the Warriors have little to deal beyond minimum-salaried players, second-round picks starting in 2020, and first-rounders they obviously won’t flip for bench guys.
The denial might not be a matter of lacking willingness to trade Bradley: Lowe foreshadowed the possibility of the L.A. Clippers trading the recently-acquired Bradley in his piece last week analyzing the trade that brought him to L.A. from the Detroit Pistons as part of the exchange involving Blake Griffin.
The Clippers can also flip Bradley for another pick, as long as they don’t attach other salaries with him. If they re-sign Jordan and let Bradley and Harris walk, they could still be major players for one superstar free agent in 2019 and 2020. If they don’t re-sign any of them, they could get in the game for two. The Clippers, under Steve Ballmer, are confident they can be a free-agent destination. Bad teams are rarely free-agent destinations.
Bradley’s availability aside, the bigger issue is that this failed inquiry probably illustrates the challenge in acquiring a guaranteed immediate impact type of player that the Warriors might want in addition to showing that they are out there's making moves.
With the players the Warriors have available to deal, it’s just tough to figure out what they could offer to acquire a player like Bradley — he’s making 8.8 million this season and the Warriors don’t have an obviously attractive asset in that salary range (especially for a rebuilding team). Lowe also suggested that the Warriors look into Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Harris, whose salary is a closer match to Patrick McCaw, who is...not quite living up to the hype. Yet as Lowe noted in his piece, “Harris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer; McCaw will be restricted. McCaw has been so uneven, the monster offer sheet Golden State feared may not be coming.“
Nevertheless, this move at least suggests that the Warriors are going to be more than a passive participant in trade deadline activity.