clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Warriors trade values, ranked

Something’s gonna happen with some of these players, maybe.

Close up of Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the stands. Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is only 17 days away. Sometime between now and then — probably sometimes, plural — Mike Dunleavy Jr. will hang up his phone, give the GM-patented blank stare of a man with bad news to deliver, send some paperwork to the league office, and then go deliver the news to a player or five on the Golden State Warriors.

It seems inevitable that the Dubs will make some moves. Despite having Steph Curry still adjacent to his prime, despite having future Hall of Fame veterans Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, despite the emergence of Jonathan Kuminga, despite crafty veteran offseason pickups, and despite their best rookie contributions since Green’s debut season more than a decade ago, the Warriors sit a shocking four games below .500 — five games outside of he playoffs, and two games (and one team) out of the play-in tournament.

Change is coming, unless they go on a serious run over the next two weeks.

Who they trade will depend on many factors. The sportswriter’s curse is that every time we mention trading Player A for Player B, we’re met with calls to trade someone worse than Player A in return for someone better than Player B.

Therein lies the crux of making trades. Is your focus to get rid of the worst players on your roster, in which case you won’t get much back? Or is your focus to acquire the best players, in which case you’ll have to give up a lot?

Beyond that, it’s an impossible exercise to rank trade assets (do you see me hedging my bets before even starting?) because we simply do not know what the other 29 GMs feel. It only takes one GM thinking that Moses Moody will be an All-Star if given 36 minutes, or that Andrew Wiggins will return to his 2021-22 ways if removed from Golden State’s locker room, and suddenly you have a massive trade on your hands.

So really, what follows is a list of how I think Dunleavy’s peers view things. But all it takes is one person breaking from the groupthink to throw everything out of order.

For the purposes of this exercise, I’m not including two-way contracts (though they can be traded) or draft picks (though the Dubs can and likely will ship some out). It’s just the 14 players on the roster, in reverse order of how much trade value they have.

14. Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins is, perhaps, the prime example of how it only takes one person having a high evaluation to completely change the game.

On the surface, Wiggins is the only Warrior with clear negative trade value. He’s in the first year of a four-year, $109 million contract, and has been one of the worst players in the NBA by any measurement: he’s 196th out of 199 qualified players in true-shooting percentage, is in the fifth percentile in defensive EPM, and ranks 393rd out of 446 NBA players in total EPM.

On the other side of the coin, he’s only two years removed from being an All-Star starter, less than two years removed from locking down Jayson Tatum while averaging 8.8 rebounds per game in the NBA Finals, and only turns 29 next month. If a team thinks that a change of scenery and a locker room — let’s not forget that Jordan Poole was Wiggins’ best friend on the Warriors — can get Wiggins back on track, then you could see him having positive trade value in at least one executive’s office.

In all likelihood though, if the Warriors want to get off of Wiggins’ contract — and all signs point to that — then it will have to be in a trade similar to the one that brought him to the Bay: swapping his negative-value contract, perhaps with a draft pick attached, for another such contract.

13. Cory Joseph

CoJo is the definition of an uninteresting trade piece. He doesn’t make enough money for the Warriors to be trying to get rid of him, and he doesn’t have enough value for anyone else to be trying to get him. Instead, he’s probably just a guy whose salary could be used to even out the finances in a larger deal.

12. Gui Santos

I hate to repeat myself, but there’s a chance that someone in some NBA front office adores Santos. He’s spent enough time in the G League that coaches, scouts, and GMs are familiar with his game, and perhaps someone is enamored with him.

Probably not, though. But since Santos’ contract is both very cheap and fully non-guaranteed for two seasons after this year, he’s at least an intriguing piece. He won’t headline a big move, or even come close to it, but he is the type of player other teams would like to acquire while they’re on the phone.

11. Draymond Green

Green is the player on the Warriors that I have the hardest time assigning trade value to. When he signed a four-year, $100 million deal with the Dubs at the start of free agency, I felt that he had left money on the table — I still feel that way. And when he’s been on the court, he’s generally played well enough to justify that contract. All of that suggests that he should be a valuable trade piece.

But I don’t see it. He’s played 16 games this year and been ejected three times, twice for violent behavior. He’s been suspended twice, including an indefinite suspension that sidelined him for a month. He openly admitted that Adam Silver had to talk him out of retirement.

There’s much to criticize about the Warriors’ handling of Green over the years. Yet despite that, I think every other coach and GM in the league probably thinks Golden State is the best place for the four-time All-Star. Green respects Curry and Steve Kerr perhaps more than anyone outside of his family and Tom Izzo. Any team acquiring Dray is not only assuming the risk of a lengthy and expensive contract for a player in his 30s with a sizable injury history, but also the risk of Green’s behavior falling off further when no longer with the team that feels like family to him.

Maybe the Los Angeles Lakers would consider it, given Green’s relationship with LeBron James, but I’m guessing everyone else is uninterested.

10. Gary Payton II

In theory, GPII would be a pretty tradable player. He’s a quality rotation piece who can be a defensive difference-maker for a playoff-bound team. Payton is on a very reasonably contract, and will likely be more than a rental, as he’s unlikely to exercise his player option this summer.

But injuries have limited him to just 38 games over the last two seasons. And while he doesn’t have the behavioral question marks that Green has, there’s no denying that Payton has been significantly better with the Warriors than he was with the Portland Trail Blazers. There are probably questions about how he’d fit with a different team and a different system. For those reasons, the number of teams interested in him is probably a little limited.

9. Klay Thompson

Klay has value to a contending team as a proven playoff performer who is still a dynamite shooter from deep. And he has value to a lot of teams who want to clear salary space this summer, as he’s on a very large expiring contract.

That said, while the Warriors can leak that they’re willing to trade everyone except Curry, I don’t buy that they’d trade Thompson or Green unless it was asked for.

8. Chris Paul

CP3 offers a similar case to Thompson. He hasn’t been as dynamic in the playoffs, but he’s been a better player this year, and is an ideal add to a contending team. He also offers tons of salary relief, as his $30 million for next year is non-guaranteed.

7. Dario Šarić

Šarić’s time with the Warriors is undoubtedly limited. Even if he makes it past the trade deadline, his strong play this year will earn him a contract in free agency that Golden State will not be allowed to come close to matching.

Dario is having the type of year that would make any contending team want him. If Golden State were to trade him, it would be a sign of punting on this year and reloading long term, as there’s no way they’d get something back that would make up for the loss in the short term.

6. Kevon Looney

I’ve been wondering lately if the Dubs might consider trading Looney. He’s quietly been part of the core for a while, yet with the team getting older, worse, and less athletic, Looney’s strengths have been minimized and his weaknesses amplified lately. There’s a reason that Golden State usually looks better with the floor-spacing of Šarić or the athleticism of Trayce Jackson-Davis.

But Looney is undoubtedly still a good player, with excellent rebounding, strong defense, and veteran intelligence. He’s also on a reasonable contract, owed a partially-guaranteed $8 million for next season.

5. Trayce Jackson-Davis

TJD is the rare player who would be appealing to a team in win-now mode and also to a team in win-later mode. Despite being a rookie, he’s savvy and mistake-free enough to help a team (like, say, the Warriors!) win games right now. He’s also on an absolute bargain contract, as he’s in the first year of a four-year, $7.6 million deal with two non-guaranteed years.

He’d fetch something nice if the Warriors decided to give the other 29 teams a chance to make up for passing on him on draft night.

4. Moses Moody

Of the young players, Moody feels the most likely to be traded. I’m not sure how highly the league views him — probably not as highly as anti-Kerr Warriors fans do — but it sure seems like some teams have to be higher on Moses than Golden State is.

But with Paul and Payton out for a while — and Wiggins likely on the trading block — Moody has a chance to earn the type of role that could make the Dubs very hesitant to get rid of him.

3. Brandin Podziemski

Dunleavy declared on draft night that the Warriors had Podziemski in the top 10 of their big board, and his play so far has backed that statement up. But since he was drafted back at No. 19, his pay is quite a bit lower than that of a top-10 pick. Podz will make $3.5 million next year, with team options for $3.7 million and $5.7 million, respectively, in his third and fourth seasons, before entering restricted free agency.

Like his fellow rookie teammate Jackson-Davis, Podziemski could benefit a team trying to win now, or a team looking to the future. He has all sorts of value.

2. Jonathan Kuminga

Like Moody, it’s often felt like other people value JK more than the Warriors do ... though it’s hard to know how much of that is genuine, and how much of it is driven by fans. But this year it should be abundantly clear that some teams are infatuated with the former No. 7 overall pick. He’s started to put everything together, and is showing glimpses of stardom. His numbers are still quite similar to in his first two years (he’s averaging 28.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per 100 possessions, on 59.0% true-shooting, after averaging 24.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per 100 possessions in his first two seasons, on 59.8% true-shooting), but he’s taken leaps forward on defense, and has started to flash how dangerous he can be as an isolation scorer.

Any team trading for Kuminga not only gets him for this year and next year (at $7.6 million), but also will get to re-sign him in restricted free agency in 2025. It’s not every day that lottery picks are available unless they’re struggling; if the Warriors plug their nose and dangle JK, they should get a pretty nice offer.

1. Steph Curry

Do I really need to explain this one? Sure, Curry is owed more than $115 million for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 seasons. And yeah, he’s about to turn 36.

He’s also still one of the best players in the league, and quite arguably the second-most popular player in the league. He’s not on the market, but if he were, almost every team would come calling.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Golden State of Mind Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Golden State Warriors news from Golden State of Mind