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Don’t expect the Warriors to make a big trade

They might! But they probably won’t.

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

We’re only a few hours away from the NBA trade deadline. And while it seemed for the bulk of the last few months that the Golden State Warriors would be highly active — sitting somewhere between “retooling” and “blowing it up” — it now looks as though nothing of note will happen.

The team’s biggest question mark leading up to the deadline has been Andrew Wiggins, whose season has been shockingly disappointing. Still, trading him was never going to be easy ... with Wiggins in the first year of a four-year, $109 million deal, it would take another team being quite confident that he would be able to rebound (both literally and figuratively). And with the Two-Way Wiggs of old showing signs of reappearing lately — his performance in the team’s final game before the deadline was one of his best all season — the Warriors probably feel that they’ll get more value by keeping Wiggins and banking on a resurgence than by trading him.

That doesn’t mean Wiggins’ role is safe long term. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the team is most likely to put off the tough roster-building decisions until the offseason.

Those tough decisions will likely include Chris Paul. The Hall of Fame-bound point guard’s name has flown around in many trade rumors due to his large expiring contract; trading CP3 could save the Warriors a significant amount of money in tax savings. But there’s simply no way that a move to trade Paul would benefit the team in any way that isn’t financial. He’s been one of the best players on the team this year, and he’s nearing a return. Trading Paul would not only make the Warriors significantly worse (right as they’re starting to click), but it would signal to Steph Curry and Steve Kerr that the team is not trying to contend ... this year or next.

That decision can be kicked down the road. Paul has a fully non-guaranteed team option for $30 million, and the Warriors can choose to exercise that to keep him around, not pick it up and save money, or renegotiate another deal at a lower price point, which I lean towards being most likely.

In all likelihood, the rumors about the Warriors trading Paul were nothing more than fans, writers, and analysts speculating what the team might do — as far as I’m aware, no one ever reported that the team was actually considering such a move.

The same can be said of Klay Thompson. It never seemed like the Dubs had any interested in dumping Klay’s contract and, despite his recent struggles, the team is still usually better when he’s on the court due to the spacing that he creates for Curry.

Golden State’s best trade pieces aren’t going anywhere either. Curry, Jonathan Kuminga, and Brandin Podziemski would return the most in a deal, but what’s the benefit? Golden State isn’t going to get better in the short-term trading away those three, who have been three of their four best players over the last few weeks. And they’re not long-term plays either; unlike Wiggins, Paul, and Thompson, neither Kuminga nor Podziemski is owed checkbook-breaking money.

At this point, the only move that wouldn’t be shocking is a trade of Cory Joseph. The veteran point guard has fallen behind not just Podziemski but Lester Quiñones on the depth chart, and while the Dubs enjoy having him around, they could save a few million dollars by dumping his contract and backfilling the spot with a Quiñones promotion. But even that doesn’t seem super likely. It wouldn’t save Golden State all that much money, so it seems more plausible that they’ll keep things as they are, and add Quiñones to the 15th roster spot before the playoffs, should they make it.

Keep your eye on the action, Dub Nation ... but don’t expect much to happen.

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