The Golden State Warriors hit a new low for the 2022-23 season on Thursday night, losing to an Orlando Magic team that entered the game with just one win, despite getting a combined 66 points out of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In doing so, the Dubs fell to 3-6 on the season.
While it was probably lost amid the heartbreak of Steph committing key turnovers down the stretch and Thompson’s attempted game-winner falling short, the contest was another in a string of games during which former No. 2 pick James Wiseman struggled to make a positive impact.
The 21-year-old saw just 10 minutes of action in Orlando, scoring two points on 1-of-3 shooting, getting whistled for three fouls and logging a minus-eight in the plus/minus department.
Given Wiseman’s continued struggles — not to mention the fact that the Warriors D has suddenly become porous in nature — it’s wouldn’t be out of pocket to wonder whether the time for trading up might be approaching. If the Dubs do decide to make a move, here’s one that could be a real winner for the club.
Proposed Deal Nets Former Lottery Pick, Underrated Gem
Kevon Looney has been a soldier down low for Golden State, keeping the team in games with his rebounding, overall effort, and garbage-man exploits. However, he hasn’t been an elite athlete since before his collegiate hip injury and he’s not much of a rim-protector or offensive threat.
With that being the case, we’re floating the following deal using Wiseman to bring in one of the better pivot-men in the Association:
- Golden State Warriors receive C Jakob Poeltl
- San Antonio Spurs receive C James Wiseman and a second-round pick in 2026 (via MEM)
The 27-year-old Poeltl has picked up right where he left off after a career year in 2021-22. Through eight games, he’s averaging 13.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest.
Those numbers speak for themselves, but digging deeper yields some real treasures with regard to his defensive impact and off-ball work.
Last season, Poeltl contested more shots per game (14.2) than anyone league-wide. Consequently, when he was the closest defender, opponents’ field-goal percentages dipped by 8.3% on average on attempts within six feet of the hoop. So, while he’s never been an elite shot-blocker, it simply cannot be said that he doesn’t protect the paint.
Meanwhile, Poeltl’s 5.5 screen assists per game was the NBA’s No. 2 mark. So, between that, his passing game and his own scoring, the Spurs center could unlock some things for the Warriors offensively as well.
San Antonio Could Be Motivated to Move Poeltl Before the Trade Deadline
In addition to being a potentially great add for the Dubs, Poeltl is also — in all likelihood — more available in trade talks than ever before.
While he could be a player to help guide the Spurs into their next iteration, the number on the final year of his current, bargain-basement contract is such that it limits what the team can do in terms of a long-term contract extension. The best they could do for Poeltl would be to give him four more years at roughly $14 million per annum.
That’s nothing to sneeze at, of course, but it’s also a number that would put him in the bottom half of starting centers league-wide. Chances are, Poeltl can do much better on the open market.
So, as opposed to letting him walk for nothing this summer, the Spurs could do as they did with Dejounte Murray and swing him for assets and/or useful (and, preferably, young) pieces. To that end, they could do a lot worse than Wiseman.
In turn, the Warriors would have an opportunity to bring him in, get him integrated and convince him to stay before he enters free agency.