Warriors’ $25 Million Playmaker Draws Trade Interest Around NBA: Report

Steve Kerr, Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts to a call during a Western Conference Semifinals game against the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2023.

One member of the Golden State Warriors and his potential availability are generating buzz among NBA bigwigs at the draft combine in Chicago.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on Wednesday, May 17, that Jonathan Kuminga has captured the attention of several decision makers in the market for an explosive finisher and versatile defender who doesn’t turn 21 years old until October.

“Executives here are also buzzing about the future of the Golden State Warriors after the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated them over the weekend,” Lowe wrote. “Judging from my conversations, there remains a strong level of interest in Jonathan Kuminga around the league.”

Jonathan Kuminga Seeks Trade if Warriors Don’t Offer Bigger Role

Jonathan Kuminga, Warriors

GettyJonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court during a Western Conference Semifinals game against the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2023.

Kuminga is interested in a trade out of Golden State as well, assuming Warriors brass isn’t willing to increase his role next season. Anthony Slater and Shams Charania of The Athletic broke that news on May 12.

“The Warriors and Kuminga’s representatives are expected to discuss his future this offseason, league sources say,” Slater and Charania wrote. “Golden State will need to decide whether Kuminga will receive a full-time role moving forward and, if not, league sources say the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft will want to be somewhere he can play more.”

Kuminga stepped into a significant role during the absence of Andrew Wiggins, which began in February and stretched on until the start of the playoffs in mid-April. The second-year forward averaged more than 24 minutes per outing across 21 games following the All-Star break. He averaged north of 13 points per contest during that stretch.

However, Kuminga found the bench and stayed there after Wiggins returned for the postseason run. Head coach Steve Kerr chose not to play Kuminga at all in Game 5 of the Dubs’ first-round series against the Sacramento Kings, or in Games 1 and 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Lakers. On the nights he did play, Kuminga averaged 6.2 minutes and 6.3 minutes per game against Sacramento and Los Angeles, respectively, per ESPN.

Warriors Unlikely to Entertain Trading Jonathan Kuminga Next Season

Jonathan Kuminga, Warriors

GettyJonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during a Western Conference First Round Playoff game against the Sacramento Kings in April 2023.

Golden State doesn’t have to appease Kuminga, who has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $24.9 million rookie contract. The Warriors have already exercised their club option on Kuminga’s deal for the 2023-24 campaign and can do so again the following season before he hits restricted free agency in the summer of 2025.

While there is some logic to be found in the notion of trading Kuminga for an upgrade who can help the Warriors win now, it makes more sense that Golden State will ultimately concede to his wishes, at least part way, and keep him on the roster.

The team already gave up on James Wiseman, selling his contract to the Detroit Pistons for a song considering he was the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft just three years ago. Kuminga is the Warriors’ other recent top-10 selection and possesses the type of skill set that gives him the floor of starting wing and a ceiling that is significantly higher.

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