It’s the time of year where trade rumors run wild. And for the Golden State Warriors, it’s one of the most important trade deadlines in recent memory.
The Warriors may sit on their hands and do nothing. But they also might make a pretty big move. Reports are suggesting that the team is taking a long, hard look at trading Kelly Oubre Jr., which would potentially allow them to keep spending way above the cap beyond this season.
Between now and Thursday, the Warriors will be linked to some more names. Some will be predictable, some will be surprising, and most — if not all — will amount to nothing.
But for now, here are the players the Warriors have been linked to in some form or fashion ahead of the deadline:
Players the Warriors have been linked to ahead of the deadline:— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) March 22, 2021
▪️ Victor Oladipo (interest)
▪️ Otto Porter Jr (interest)
▪️ Bogdan Bogdanović (interest)
▪️ Aaron Gordon (interest)
▪️ Nemanja Bjelica (interest)
▪️ Cedi Osman (interest)
▪️ Kristaps Porzingis (offered by Dallas)
Let’s look at the case for all of them, other than Kristaps Porziņģis, since there’s no inclination that the Warriors are at all interested. And while we’re at it, let’s look at Lonzo Ball, who is rumored to be on the move, and was tied to the Warriors earlier in the year.
We’ll go in alphabetical order, and look at the pros and cons of each player.
Why he’s a fit: There’s no denying that Ball would be a fun fit in the Warriors offense. He’s always looking to push the ball forward, would rather pass than score (but isn’t allergic to shooting), is an at-times mesmerizing playmaker, and seems to be finding his shot.
He’s made 38.5% of his threes this year, on very high volume, and made 37.5% a year ago; he’s definitely trending in the right direction. Ball and Draymond Green pushing the ball up the court, while Steph Curry and Klay Thompson fill the wings, is something worth dreaming about.
Defensively the fit is good as well. He’s a competent defender, and large enough to guard bigger wings. He could fill in anywhere off the bench, or slide into the starting lineup alongside Curry and Thompson if the Warriors ever trade Andrew Wiggins.
Finally, Ball is approaching restricted free agency, so the Warriors don’t have to worry about re-signing him long-term. They’ll have it all in their hands.
Why it doesn’t work: There are three big fears with Ball. The first is that, despite the rumors, it’s not actually clear if the Pelicans are shopping him. The second is that he’s good enough and young enough that a lot of teams should be interested; it would probably take a hefty package to land him. And the third is that this is the first season of his career when he’s had decent efficiency.
That said, I’m not too worried about the last point, since he’s been improving his efficiency by leaps and bounds in each of his four NBA seasons.
Why he’s a fit: If the Warriors decide they need some help in the frontcourt, Bjelica is one of the best fits available. He’s a very good shooter (although you wouldn’t know it this year), and is the rare power forward who would fit really well next to Draymond Green.
Why it doesn’t work: Bjelica is owed half of Oubre’s salary, and is a 32 year old approaching free agency. If the Warriors swing a trade for him, it’s likely as a short-term solution rather than a long-term Oubre replacement. And there’s just not all that strong of a need for that.
Why he’s a fit: Good shooter, comfortable on and off-ball, under contract for three more years, competent defensively. He’s basically what the Warriors want Jordan Pool to be.
Why it doesn’t work: Jordan Poole is very much starting to look like what the Warriors want Jordan Poole to be.
Why he’s a fit: It’s hard to go wrong with adding one of the best athletes in the league, who happens to be from the Bay Area. If nothing else, Gordon would be a lot of fun. He’d be a hometown favorite, he’d get along with fans, and he would be a nightly SportsCenter Top 10 appearance throwing down lobs from Curry and Green.
He’s also turned himself into a quality three-point shooter, as he’s made 40.2% this season on more than four attempts a game. Add in strong defense, and it’s easy to see the Warriors interest.
Why it doesn’t work: Despite Gordon’s development as a shooter, he’s still more of a 4 than a 3, and the Warriors are more in the market for wings than frontcourt players. Where would Gordon play? Unless the Warriors commit to going small, and start he and Green in the frontcourt, he’d likely be relegated to a weird bench role. He’ll also command a pretty penny in the trade market.
Why he’s a fit: At his best, Oladipo was a surefire All-Star who averaged more than 23 points per game with All-Defense quality defense.
The offense has taken a tumble, but he still grades out as a high quality perimeter defender. The Warriors would love to add one of those, especially if they feel like his offense will bounce back.
Why it doesn’t work: Oladipo is approaching free agency, and it’s believed that he’s looking for a big deal. Are the Warriors willing to give him that? Is he willing to stay, even if it might be for a bench role? And are the Warriors confident that his dipping offense will reverse the trend? There are a lot of question marks.
Why he’s a fit: Osman’s style of play is a great fit for the Warriors. He can play numerous positions, is comfortable in virtually any role, and can make threes at a decent clip.
So what’s the catch?
Why it doesn’t work: He’s not very good.
Otto Porter Jr.
Why he’s a fit: Porter would be a dream sixth man for the Warriors. He’s a career 40.5% shooter from deep, is a tremendous defender capable of guarding point guards, power forwards, and everything in between, and is willing to do the little things and the dirty work.
He’s a quality starter, who would move to a bench role when the Warriors are healthy, and that’s a tremendous luxury.
Why it doesn’t work: Porter’s salary is roughly twice that of Oubre’s, which means the Warriors really only have two viable paths towards an acquisition: hope for a buyout, or trade Wiggins instead of Oubre.
Neither of those seem very likely from the Chicago Bulls viewpoint, so this one seems unlikely. Porter’s a great fit, but logistically it’s hard to make work.
Which player do you most want to see on the Warriors?
This poll is closed
Otto Porter Jr.