The Golden State Warriors are just one win away from the NBA Finals as of this writing, which may not sound weird given their history and largely dominant showing against the Mavs in the West Finals, but make no mistake — they bucked some odds by getting to this point.
Over the last few years, the team has endured multiple devastating injuries to the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and former No. 2 pick James Wiseman. Before that, they were forced to stand idly by as Kevin Durant, who led the club to consecutive titles in 2017 and ’18, packed his bags for Brooklyn.
And yet, here they stand — in a year that began with an incredible amount of uncertainty — as the clear title favorites with just a few weeks of postseason ball remaining.
Whether they finish the job or not, though, GM Bob Myers has some things to address this offseason. First and foremost, he must solve an Andrew Wiggins-Jordan Poole conundrum; Golden State probably can’t keep the former if it extends the latter. Secondly, there’s the pivot to consider, as the team lacks size and Kevon Looney will be a free agent this summer.
Here’s one trade with the potential to hit both birds with a single stone.
Spurs Deal Provides Answers
In an effort to find the Dubs a legit seven-footer to anchor the team’s defense, while securing a quality wing player to take the place of Wiggins — whose departure would make doling out the mega-bucks to Poole a lot easier — we’re pitching the following deal with the Spurs:
- San Antonio Spurs receive C James Wiseman and G/F Moses Moody
- Golden State Warriors receive C Jakob Poeltl and G/F Devin Vassell
Letting Wiggins walk would feel like a gut punch after the playoff run he has had, particularly here in the conference finals. However, he’s set to make $33.6 million next season and will undoubtedly be looking for something in the same ballpark or better with his next deal.
Vassell, meanwhile, is still on his rookie-scale deal and he’s coming off a campaign during which he averaged 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 36.1% from distance. He’s not on Wiggins’ level currently, but he certainly could be one day in the not-too-distant future.
At the very least, he’s significantly closer to that level — on both sides of the ball — than Moody, who hasn’t been in the playoff rotation.
As for Poeltl, the veteran big man is a clear upgrade over Looney. This past season, he averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest. He also finished the campaign as the NBA leader in contested shots per game at 14.2. And opponents’ field-goal percentages dropped 8.3% on attempts within six feet of the hoop when he was the closest defender.
The Warriors would probably prefer to keep and develop Wiseman, who some still believe to be a future star. However, 39 games played over two years due to injury and a potentially long developmental curve aren’t things that mesh with the club’s win-now mindset.
Poeltl (26) and Vassell (21) are both young enough to be part of the Warriors’ next wave alongside Poole and Jonathan Kuminga, too.
The latest Golden State Warriors news straight to your inbox! Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!Join Heavy on Warriors!
Why the Spurs Do It
If the Spurs were a little bit closer to making major playoff noise, Poeltl could be an ideal piece to their puzzle. As it stands, though, they’re probably still a couple of years away from challenging the status quo. Moreover, Poeltl will be a free agent after the 2022-23 campaign anyway, and there will likely be no shortage of teams looking to pluck him from the Southwest.
Rather than lose the pivot to some contender or other for nothing, they could swap him out for the Dubs’ blue-chipper and go all-in on a youth movement with this trade.
The Moody/Vassell change-up serves a similar purpose. The latter is clearly further along in his development, but his ceiling may not be as high as the Spurs had hoped when they made him their highest draft selection since Tim Duncan. Moody, meanwhile, is still just 19 years old and Steve Kerr has raved about his work ethic and maturity.