Despite their recent championship victory, the storylines surrounding the Golden State Warriors this summer have been about anything but their recent success. Sure, there were the initial celebrations, but after that, all the talk has been about their upcoming financial situation.
Over the next two years, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Jordan Poole will all need contract extensions. However, with how far deep into the luxury tax the Warriors already are, it seems impossible that they pay everybody.
In a recent mailbag article, Brady Klopfer of Golden State of Mind discussed potential trade options. He noted that there aren’t many realistic options for Golden State on the trade market, as none would relieve their cap situation. However, the one option that could do that would be to move Klay Thompson to the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook.
“Of course they could always go the route of keeping Green, Wiggins, and Poole, and instead offloading Klay Thompson’s contract. The only realistic way they could do that while getting back an expiring contract is to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook, which … look, I’m just going to move on to the next question now,” Klopfer wrote.
While he was the one who brought up the idea, Klopfer also clearly disapproves, as he swiftly moved on with the conversation. Golden State will not be making any such deal with the Lakers, but it may be the only way to get out of their financial issues by way of a trade.
Klopfer also explained why a trade seems unlikely.
Why a Trade Doesn’t Make Sense
Trading away one of the four players in need of an extension before they have to be paid sounds smart, but Golden State would have to match the salaries in a deal. Because of this, Klopfer noted that it seems unlikely Golden State makes this sort of trade.
“The point of making a trade would be to lower their payroll. But they have to match salaries in a trade, which means they’re taking that money right back. So the only way they get anything worthwhile if they trade Andrew Wiggins or Draymond Green is if they get back that salary on an expiring contract from a team that’s willing to throw in some exciting future assets as well,” he explained.
Klopfer mentioned that trading Poole could potentially be an option, but the trade-off would be significantly worsening their championship odds right now.
Why Trading Poole Makes Little Sense
Poole is still on his rookie contract and makes very little money. Trading him for a player that won’t require a massive extension, but as noted by Klopfer, that sort of deal would also greatly hurt Golden State’s title chances next year.
“So that leaves trading Jordan Poole, who isn’t yet on a big contract, as the only option. The Warriors could get a really good player for Poole, but they’re not getting like-for-like. They’ll be worse this year as they chase a championship, and they’ll punt their opportunity to re-sign Poole if he takes another leap, or if Wiggins regresses, or whatever. Not worth the risk, at all,” said Klopfer.
So, while a Thompson trade for Westbrook is technically possible and could help, it’s not going to happen. That means fans will just have to wait and see how the Warriors work their way out of these financial problems.