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Mailbag: Offseason targets, NBA Draft, and hot seats

Plus, can the Warriors find a way to add Kawhi Leonard or DeMar DeRozan?

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Eight teams are battling it out in the NBA playoffs, but the Golden State Warriors are deep into their offseason. Seemed like a good time for a mailbag.

Thanks to everyone for the questions!

This is cheating, but the first offseason move they should make is to extend Steph Curry. Do I think Curry has any interest in leaving? No. But show him his worth, extend him over the summer, and don’t let his impending free agency become a thing that hits the news cycle next season.

The second is to target a high-quality veteran who can be convinced to sign for the mid-level exception. Someone to occupy the role that Andre Iguodala used to (Iguodala himself could be an option). Anyone who reads me or follows me on Twitter knows that I’m higher on Jordan Poole than just about anybody else is, but the Warriors simply cannot enter the offseason with him as their best player of the bench. That’s not an indictment of Poole — it’s just the reality of building a championship contender.

As to the question about the Minnesota pick, if it lands No. 4 I expect the Warriors to keep it, if for no reason other than logistics. You’d only trade that pick for a high-quality player, and the Warriors would have to match salaries with that player, which would be very difficult.

Picking free agent targets is so difficult, because you just don’t know what the market will be. Guys like Danny Green or Otto Porter Jr. would be awesome additions, but would they settle for a taxpayer mid-level exception? Probably not.

Have down years from JJ Redick and Paul Millsap suppressed their value enough that the Warriors can get in on the action? Hard to say. All of those players fit needs, and are at least worth reaching out to.

As for the pick, I’ll be transparent: I’m not a draft person. I don’t watch college basketball, and my draft prep primarily consists of reading people I trust. But, unless someone wants a big trade centered around both the No. 4 pick (if the Dubs get it) and James Wiseman, I think the Warriors should keep the pick and take the best player available, regardless of timeline.

Getting DeMar DeRozan is essentially impossible, barring the four-time All-Star deciding he wants to take a significant pay cut to chase a ring. A sign and trade with the Spurs and DeRozan isn’t at all feasible, because San Antonio has an overabundance of cap space for next year. Which means that if they want Kelly Oubre Jr. on their team, they’ll just sign him outright and not mess around with giving up any assets.

Kawhi Leonard, on the other hand, isn’t impossible — just extremely, extremely, extremely unlikely. The Warriors have no way of signing him outright if he opts out of his 2021-22 contract, but they could in theory trade for him, though they might need him to opt into the contract to make the finances work rather than hard-capping themselves with a sign and trade.

But that would only have a chance at happening if A) Leonard demands a trade to the Warriors specifically, or B) Leonard demands a trade and the Clippers decide they want to rebuild around ... Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman.

Leonard is home, and the Clippers, despite a so-far disappointing postseason, are a good team with legitimate title hopes. I don’t see this happening.

I think it’s a guarantee that the Warriors sign a veteran big of some sort. There’s no way they’re entering next season with Kevon Looney and James Wiseman as the only center options.

The questions are: who’s available, and will it be Marquese Chriss? The organization likes Chriss, and he provides the rim-running and pick-and-pop threat that the Warriors want from Wiseman. With the team unlikely to play Wiseman meaningful minutes next year, Chriss wouldn’t be redundant. He’d be a solid option.

I see four must-dos for the roster:

  1. Get rid of any players that either aren’t ready to contribute immediately, or have a high ceiling for the future.
  2. Sign at least two trusty veterans who actually fit the team’s read and react system.
  3. Add some shooting.
  4. Sign a big man that allows the team to not have to rely on James Wiseman at any point during the season.

Of course, extending Steph Curry would be a big one as well, but not a must-do ... even if it’s a big priority.

I don’t have a good sense of where the Warriors stand on James Wiseman, so I have no idea how they’d feel about this. But I can say with great certainty that the Kings would want absolutely no part of this trade.

Wiseman may have been drafted ahead of Tyrese Haliburton, but there were plenty of people who felt Haliburton was the better prospect. And those people were rewarded after their respective rookie seasons. Haliburton was the third-best rookie in the league this year, and averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 assists, while shooting 40.9% from deep. On top of that, it’s not like he’s a four-year college player who’s just really polished — he’s only one year older than Wiseman.

Haliburton looks like he’ll be a high-quality two-way player for years to come, and I suspect most teams would rather have him than Wiseman. Sacramento is emphatically one of those teams.

Perhaps this is a cop-out answer, but I really don’t think there’s any chance that the Warriors miss the playoffs next year unless they have a serious injury again. And if they have a serious injury again, there’s a built-in excuse.

I know that Steve Kerr and Bob Myers were public enemy Nos. 1 and 2 for Dub Nation this year, but their respective seats aren’t even lukewarm. They built a dynasty. The players love them. Most importantly, Joe Lacob likes and respects them.

If the Warriors disappoint next year, then next offseason we can start having the discussion about if there’s pressure facing those two. For right now, they’ve got two of the safest jobs in the NBA.

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