The Golden State Warriors’ trade deadline was thought to be very aggressive. They have been anywhere between the 7th and 10th seed in the West, which is typically a low bar for the organization. Despite Stephen Curry’s MVP-type year, there hasn’t been sufficient enough scoring to get them over the hump.
Throughout the season, many names have come up as potential trade targets for the Warriors. Players like Zach LaVine, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, and even Karl Anthony Towns were all rumored to be in the works to come to the Bay. But the Warriors did more subtracting than adding this year.
They traded veteran guard Brad Wanamaker to the Hornets for cash considerations and big man Marquese Chriss to the San Antonio Spurs for the draft rights to Cady Lalanne. These moves saved $11 million in luxury tax dollars and created $4.05 million in trade exceptions. It also gives them two free roster spots.
With all the noise about GM Bob Myers going aggressive, it’s safe to say that it was a bluff. They were not willing to give up their prized assets, most notably Minnesota’s 1st round pick this year. But above all, the quietness at the deadline signaled that they are content with this group going forward.
Warriors’ Trade Deadline: Moves They Made
Trading Brad Wanamaker wasn’t a shock to most who follow the Warriors. He is a fan-favorite target on Twitter for memes this year as his play has not lived up to expectations. He’s averaging 4.7 ppg on 21.3% shooting from behind the arc which is pretty awful for a guy who was expected to take on key minutes off the bench this year.
Chriss was a bit more surprising considering he was a successful reclamation project from last year’s team. A local talent from Elk Grove, Chriss quickly became a fan favorite last year, and many expected him to take a big leap forward this year. His season-ending leg injury played a key factor in why the Warriors were willing to deal him at the deadline.
Both of these moves cut down the money the Warriors would have owed to the luxury tax, but more importantly, it frees up to roster spots. This gives them the ability to sign a free agent who will be on the buyout market or bring sign someone from the G-League team who impressed in the Orlando bubble.
What to Do With the Two Extra Roster Spots
The Warriors could easily roll into the rest of the season with 13 players. Bringing in two new players could mess up the team’s chemistry. The new players would also have to get used to the Warrior’s complicated system that new players often struggle with.
The Warriors desperately need some injection of energy. They have been in a slump largely due to Curry missing the last five games. They need to do something in order to give the team life while Curry misses games.
One easy option would be to sign veteran guard Jeremy Lin who was in the G-League bubble in February. He averaged 19.8 PPG and 6.4 APG for the Santa Cruz Warriors but was, more importantly, a consistent veteran to the younger players. The Warriors roster as it stands is very young, and a veteran point guard like Lin can easily give them leadership on top of the scoring he would provide off the bench.
The Warriors have a $2.8 million dollar mid-level exception which gives them some wiggle room to get somebody on the buyout market. It is unlikely that one of the bigger name buyout candidates like Andre Drummond or LaMarcus Aldridge signs with the Warriors, as these types of free agents are looking for either a ride to the finals or as much money they can get which the Warriors have neither.
A name on the buyout market who has not been released as of yet but most likely will is Hassan Whiteside. If bought out, the Warriors would love to have his shot-blocking and rebounding capabilities, two areas in which they are very weak.
There are also some intriguing free agents that are on the market right now who have not been signed. Glenn Robinson III was on the Warriors roster last year and showed promise as a 3-and-D wing who can stretch the floor and run the break. He is already familiar with the system and could be a plug-and-play guy the day he walks in the door.
Another player who is on the market who can give them some instant scoring is Gerald Green who last played for the Houston Rockets. A fiery competitor, Green is a volume shooter who can get hot at the right time. He can give the Warriors some scoring off the bench and be a veteran presence on the defensive end.
What the Moves at the Deadline Mean
The moves at the deadline tell us is that the Warriors are content with the roster they have. They are obviously not going to be contending for a title this year, and I take it that this year is just about getting Curry back to 100% after missing last season as well as getting the young players ready for next year.
Though this group has a hard time scoring without Curry on the floor, they have shown flashes of potential. The defense has improved mightily since the start of the season and they seem to have more cohesion on the floor together.
A big name that was floated around at the deadline was Kelly Oubre Jr. By not trading him, it seems as though they are going to be willing to pay him this summer and attempt to bring him back for the future.
The Warriors also did not trade their top-three protected lottery pick that they got last year from Minnesota indicating that they are hoping to get a young player in this year’s draft or that they will try to trade that pick for more pieces this upcoming summer.
As of now, it seems like the Warriors are happy with the team they have constructed. They will be pushing for one of the last playoff spots in the west, but it is unlikely they will even make a run at the second round. For now, it looks like the team will be sticking to its guns for the present.
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