Eventually, the summer drama of will they or won’t they regarding the Golden State Warriors and possibly making a blockbuster trade will subside. Until then, expect to continue to hear the names Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard connected to the Dubs on a daily, if not hourly basis.
With point guard Stephen Curry recently signed to a massive contract extension and the impending winter return of Klay Thompson, Golden State is hopefully all set for the majority of the season as far as offensive firepower in the backcourt. Therefore, it’s sometimes hard to picture just how the aforementioned guards – particularly Beal and Lillard – would fit into the team’s rotation.
On Thursday, a few of the writers over at Bleacher Report released a handful of “New Blockbuster Trades” that includes a trade of Simmons to the San Antonio Spurs and Lillard to the Boston Celtics. NBA writer Greg Swartz meanwhile, came up with a six-player proposal that sees some new faces heading to the Bay Area.
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Here’s the trade idea from Swartz:
Warriors receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson, Willie Cauley-Stein
Mavericks receive: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman
While Wiggins and Wiseman have been floated as trade candidates all summer long, the other half of the proposal is different than most of what fans have seen in recent months. This move would see the Dubs bringing in four guys all 28 years or younger – Lillard is in his 30s by comparison – and three of the four players that Golden State are considered big men.
Porzingis towers over most opposing players at 7-foot-3 and Cauley-Stein is 7-foot even and rarely plays along the perimeter – he’s attempted 30 three-pointers in over 400 career games. Finney-Smith is listed at 6-foot-7, 220 pounds and can play either the three or the four and Brunson is the lone man in the backcourt at 6-foot-1, but has only averaged 21.8 minutes over his career and started just one-third of his 198 contests (66).
Porzingis Has Had a Roller Coaster of a Career
Brunson, Cauley-Stein and Finney-Smith would all be nice complimentary pieces coming to the west coast in the proposed deal, but there’s no doubt that Porzingis would be the main attraction. The 26-year-old made first team All-Rookie in 2016, was a 2018 All-Star and has ranked inside the top-eight in blocks in four of his five seasons played.
It hasn’t all been positive for the Latvian though. When Porzingis was selected fourth overall by the New York Knicks in the 2015 NBA draft, fans of the franchise had an infamously negative reaction.
Porzingis would prove his doubters wrong over his first few seasons in New York for the most part, as he was named Rookie of the Month three consecutive times from November 2015 through January 2016 and steadily upped his three-point shooting percentage and points per game, topping out at a 22.7 scoring average in the 2017-2018 campaign. Just 12 days before the 2018 All-Star Game, which he was voted into, Porzingis tore his ACL in his left knee during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks, ending his season and causing him to miss the entire 2018-2019 campaign as well.
On January 31, 2019, Porzingis was traded to the Mavericks as part of a nine-player deal. In March that year, Porzingis made news off the court when a woman accused him of raping her in 2018 just hours after he tore his ACL.
Porzingis and his lawyer have denied the claim.
Would This Be an Upgrade for the Warriors?
Porzingis has put up decent numbers across his two seasons in Dallas, averaging 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on a 44.8/36.2/81.7 shooting line, but has had trouble staying healthy. The big man played in 53 contests during the 2019-2020 season and just 43 this past campaign.
Moreover, Porzingis struggled mightily in the Mavericks first-round seven-game playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers this spring. Not only did the Mavs blow series leads of 2-0 and 3-2 to ultimately fall to the Clippers, but their supposed second-best player posted only 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting a disappointing 8-for-27 from distance (29.6%).
“While Porzingis has disappointed as a No. 2 option in Dallas, he’d be a perfect No. 3 behind Stephen Curry and Thompson with the Warriors after averaging 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and shooting 37.6 percent from three (during the 2020-2021 season),” Swartz said. “Finney-Smith plugs into Wiggins’ old spot as a three-and-D specialist, while Brunson (12.6 points on 40.5 percent from three) and Cauley-Stein (5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17.1 minutes) give Golden State some much-needed depth.”
Swartz sees the blockbuster as a win-win for both Dallas and Golden State.
“Dallas moves on from the Porzingis experiment by adding a reliable scorer and improved defender in Wiggins (18.6 points on 38.0 percent from three) and Wiseman – the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft – gives them a potential future star to pair with Luka Doncic.”