Warriors ‘Absolutely, Positively’ NOT Trading Former No. 2 Pick: Insider

James Wiseman Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors big man James Wiseman poses for a photo during the team's 2021 media day.

By all accounts, former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman had a strong rookie campaign for the Golden State Warriors. Sure, it was cut short when he suffered a torn right meniscus. Before he went down, though, it was impossible not to see his incredible potential.

Over 39 games (27 of which were starts), the seven-foot center put up 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He also shot 51.9% from the field and 31.6% from three-point range. Meanwhile, opponents’ field goal percentages dipped 2.2% when Wiseman was the closest defender.

Despite Wiseman’s show-out effort as a rookie, though — and even as the excitement about his return to the court continues to grow — his name has been popping up in trade chatter around the hoops blogosphere.

Some have him headed off to the Sixers as part of some wild Ben Simmons move. Others think the Warriors should swing him over to Indy for Myles Turner. In the meantime, one team insider is willing to bet the farm that Wiseman is going nowhere.

Kawakami: Warriors Aren’t Trading Wiseman

Chris Broussard wants the Warriors to trade James Wiseman for Damian LillardChris Broussard wants the Warriors to trade James Wiseman for Damian Lillard2021-12-09T13:04:58Z

For all the hype surrounding Wiseman, as well as the legitimate chops he showed during his abridged rookie campaign, it’s difficult to project what kind of player he’ll be five years from now. And while trade rumors are part of the business, there’s no denying that some big names that could really help the Warriors may be available right now.

Regardless, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami maintains that the team isn’t thinking about trading the 20-year-old. He writes:

No, they’re not trading him. There will always be rumors floating or suggestions made that the Warriors can get better immediately if they put Wiseman on the trade market. Good players will become available that might fit the Warriors’ style. Nobody is sure what Wiseman can give the Warriors this season while they strive for the fourth title of this era.

But the Warriors aren’t trading Wiseman. They absolutely are not.

That’s a bold statement coming from somebody who knows the team and its decision-makers inside and out. However, it’s also one that rings true, even if Wiseman’s actual, on-court contribution may be limited this season for the title-contending Warriors.

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All the Reasons He Is Staying

As Kawakami sees it, Warriors brass has a multitude of reasons for wanting to hang onto Wiseman. The biggest one, though, is that they think he’s destined to be a star.

“He likely will be able to spin off of screens and slam down alley-oop dunks for years and years to come,” wrote Kawakami. “And that’s just the start of what Wiseman should be able to do as he gets into the heart of his career.”

Kawakami further noted that the team has a firm belief that Wiseman is still learning and growing as he watches from the sidelines. The youngster has made statements to that effect as well, which is great news for Golden State.

“I watch [Kevon Looney] and how he’s able to see the patterns on defense,” Wiseman said, via The Athletic. “And also on offense, how he’s able to score. I just visualize myself out there, where I’m going to be out on the floor so I can make those opportunities happen for me as well.”

Kawakami further indicated that the Warriors have been fine with their center play during their 21-4 start. At the least, it’s difficult to argue with those results (without Klay Thompson, no less).

He also opined that the Warriors’ best financial move would be to keep him, and he’s not wrong. Wiseman is locked into his team-friendly, rookie-scale deal through the 2023-24 season. If the Warriors were to swing him for a player with a max or near-max deal, that would send their luxury tax payment into uncharted and perilous waters.


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