There’s more excitement and optimism surrounding Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman currently than there has been in some time, and rightfully so. The former No. 2 overall pick went through summer league last month and, while it wasn’t always pretty, his performance renewed hope that he could one day be that dude for the Dubs.
Over four appearances in the Las Vegas league, Wiseman averaged 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in just 19.9 minutes per contest. He also knocked down a pair of three-point shots.
However, the biggest accomplishment for Wiseman may have been the fact that he actually played in four straight games, something the 21-year-old hadn’t done since April of 2021, before his meniscus tear.
Nevertheless, questions remain about his ability to live up to his draft status — or even contribute in a significant way to a title effort next season. And despite the fact that the Warriors won it all last season, there are still critics of the club’s dual timeline approach out there. So, the idea that the Warriors could move Wiseman for a win-now vet has persisted.
As it happens, Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley just proposed such a trade. A move that would mean the unexpected ending of the Wiseman project, but one that could yield some things on the defensive end while filling the team’s draft coffers.
Favors Comes to the Bay Area
In a recent piece seeking to identify one trade for every team in the NBA with the objective of improving their starting lineups, Buckley landed on a KD deal for the Dubs. That wasn’t the only Warriors move he wrote up for the feature, though.
His trade proposal for the Oklahoma City Thunder also involved Golden State, and it was a move bringing a playoff-tested, veteran big man to the Bay. Buckley’s suggestion:
- Oklahoma City Thunder receive C James Wiseman
- Golden State Warriors receive C Derrick Favors and two future first-round picks
As the hoops scribe sees it, the Wiseman play would give OKC another blue-chipper to grow alongside Chet Holmgren and Josh Giddey. At the same time, it would take a hot minute to see it all come together, so the Thunder would still have a legitimate shot in the upcoming Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.
“The right trade target… would be someone who could grow with this core but not impact the win column too much to start,” wrote Buckley. “Someone like Wiseman, who would carry a wealth of potential to the Sooner State but also arrive missing several coats of polish.”
Of course, the Warriors stand to gain something in the trade, too, even as Wiseman’s overall value far outweighs that of Favors.
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Why Do the Dubs Do It, Though?
At one point, Favors was one of the better defensive big men in the league. His initial pairing with Rudy Gobert gave his old team, the Utah Jazz, maybe the most intimidating front in the entire league.
With their twin towers leading the way, Utah actually topped the Association in defensive rating at 103.0 during the 2017-18 season. And when Gobert and Favors shared the court, the Jazz were even more dominant defensively, holding opponents to just 96.8 points per 100 possessions.
Favors isn’t quite that guy anymore — his mobility and overall athleticism have dipped — but the 31-year-old is still a good rebounder and someone with paint presence, a decent mid-range jumper and a strong pick-and-roll game on both sides of the ball. He’s also been through some playoff battles.
Last season, Favors made the most of his somewhat limited court time, averaging 11.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes.
If the Warriors want to focus more on the next year or two, the big man may be worth a try. Beyond that, though, the Dubs pick up some incredibly desirable draft assets, which is a rare thing to have for a team in their position, and something that helps offset the loss of Wiseman.
Depending on the protections attached to those picks, Golden State could find themselves pulling another player of Wiseman’s ilk down the line.