On Tuesday, the Golden State Warriors began their five-game road trip. The first game, a matchup against the very good Philadelphia 76ers, went about as expected. Actually, that’s a lie - it went much better than expected, but was still a double-digit loss. So it goes with this team.
One down, four to go. The Warriors will make stops to visit the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, and Brooklyn Nets, before finally returning to their overpriced San Francisco apartments.
That final game, in Brooklyn, in which a few loving and perhaps tense handshakes and hugs will be exchanged with Kevin Durant, takes place on Wednesday, February 5.
On Thursday, February 6, the NBA trade deadline occurs at noon. At 12:01 p.m. PT, the players on the Warriors roster will be all but locked in.
The Warriors have already made one trade this deadline season, sending center Willie Cauley-Stein to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the Utah Jazz’s 2020 second-round draft pick. That cleared up the money necessary to convert the two-way contracts of both Marquese Chriss and Ky Bowman. It’s worth noting that neither of those contracts have been converted yet, and the team continues to save a little money under the hard cap with every day that Chriss and Bowman remain on two-way deals.
So the team isn’t desperately looking for ways to make trades. But they’re not not looking for trades, either. If Golden State can earn back some of the draft picks they’ve traded away - they have just two second-round picks in the next seven drafts - they’ll likely make a move.
With Cauley-Stein gone, there are only two players that have a decent chance of being traded: Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III.
Of those two, Burks is more likely to be gone, for two reasons. First, he’s been the better player, meaning his value is a little bit higher. He’s more likely to produce a bidding war, and fetch the Warriors a nice return package.
Second, Burks may have played himself out of the Warriors plans. He’s a free agent at year’s end, and will almost surely command more than a veteran’s minimum next year. That means the Warriors could only retain him by using the mid-level exception, and they may have their eyes on a better player for that price.
There are plenty of teams who could use Burks’ services - he’s averaging 15.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, with competent defense and a 36.0% stroke from beyond the arc. The 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Houston Rockets are surely interested, and I would suspect the Utah Jazz and a few other teams are as well.
The Warriors have just over a week to make a deal. Burks was on the plane when they departed for the East Coast. He might not be on the one that comes back.