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It’s all coming down to the wire

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The Warriors have to make a draft choice, but they probably don’t yet know their options.

2016 NBA Finals - Practice and Media Availability Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2021 NBA Draft is right around the corner. No, I said that last week. The 2021 NBA Draft is closer than right around the corner. We’re halfway through the corner, just hit the apex and downshifted, and are mashing the gas pedal as we shoot out towards the draft.

At this point in the draft lead up, everything has been discussed ad nauseam. We know where the Golden State Warriors will draft, and who will likely be available at each slot. We know the strengths and weaknesses of the prospects, and we know which ones are considered win-now moves, and which are considered high-risk, high-reward potential stars.

We’ve pored over countless mock drafts (including mine), and disagreed with the players mocked to the Dubs (especially mine). We’ve seen proposals of trades for everything from other draft picks to superstars.

Normally at this juncture — a few days before the draft — we’ve discussed everything there will be to discuss. Usually it’s just time to sit back and wait for the action to unfold.

But perhaps not this time.

Warriors GM Bob Myers met with the media on Monday and shared an interesting revelation: everything’s happening late this year. The offers and ideas that normally would have been old news to the team by draft week are only now starting to roll in. Myers said that the current plan is to use both picks — No. 7 and No. 14 — but that the plan could change within the hour.

“The league has never operated closer to the deadline than it does now, and things have never happened faster” said Myers. “Today I got some trade stuff that — it’s Monday, the draft is three days away — that had never been discussed. Brand new. We — I can blame myself too — in the GM community, we’ve kind of squeezed all this action the last two days. And maybe it’s the concept of, ‘I’m not gonna get a real offer unless it’s close to the draft.’ But today, right now, yeah: we’re drafting seven and 14. Don’t get mad if we don’t in three days.”

That reminds us what we knew all along: the Warriors would explore options, and be aggressive looking at trades, but would be prepared to use their draft picks unless a home run offer came along.

Usually three days before the draft we have a good idea if a home run offer has come along, or if it’s being discussed. But it seems as though there may be rumors, reports, and trade ideas that emerge in the next few days, that haven’t been on our radar — or that we’ve dismissed.

This is the modern NBA, and not only are teams changing their minds in dramatic and fast-paced fashion, but players are, too. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater reports that the Warriors are still prepared to enter the Bradley Beal sweepstakes should he become available, and that the draft is a bit all-or-nothing for the Dubs, saying, “They’ll either add two rookies to a roster attempting to fuse two eras together or blow up the youth movement for a big name and then spend the remaining days filling all the vacancies in a pure win-now approach.”

Well, those certainly are contrasting options, aren’t they?

Beal is important because we’ve seen countless NBA players — stars, in particular — come forth with a trade request out of the blue. There’s at least smoke with Beal — and there has been for a few years — so while we shouldn’t expect news to drop that he’s demanding out, we shouldn’t drive to Vegas to bet that he won’t, either.

But it might not just be Beal. Traction could pick up with another star who’s been rumored to be available, like Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, or Pascal Siakam. A 1B star might make ask out, or a team might sour on a player. A rebuilding team could decide it’s time to accelerate the timeline when they realize that Jonathan Kuminga might be available at No. 7.

We don’t know, is the point, and that’s a rarity at this point in the pre-draft process. What we do know is that the Warriors are prepared to use their picks, and, according to Slater, are currently eyeing Kuminga, Moses Moody, and James Bouknight with the No. 7 pick, and Davion Mitchell and Chris Duarte with the No. 14 pick.

Those players would look good in a Warriors jersey, but so would a proven star. We just won’t know until the eleventh hour if one is available.