As the Golden State Warriors‘ Jordan Poole became a breakout success story and Andrew Wiggins blossomed into a first-time All-Star last season, the club’s ability to pay both players long-term emerged as a major point of concern for Dub Nation.
For now, however, it appears as though Golden State’s decision-makers are content to kick the can down the road until they have to make a real call next summer (when Wiggins’ deal is up). Still, it would seem that something eventually has to give there.
On top of that, the team also draws nearer to contending with a whole other wave of mega-dollar dilemmas with each passing day. Specifically, the contract extensions that will be sought by veteran stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Then there are the other young guns to consider in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
Clearly, there’s a lot that owner Joe Lacob and team president Bob Myers have to work out. That said, one Warriors insider believes that a particular blockbuster trade could solve all of the team’s looming problems.
Kurtenbach Pitches KD Cure-All
In a recent piece for the Mercury News, Dubs insider Dieter Kurtenbach questioned the viability of the team’s dual-timeline approach from standpoints both logistical and financial. His suggestion as an alternative to trying to serve so many masters: pick a lane and go all-in.
Specifically, by making the deal that fans and armchair GMs in the Bay Area have been mulling over all summer.
“The Warriors can try to thread the needle — they can test fate and try to offload Poole or Wiggins or even Green — or they can solve the problem right here and now by committing to one timeline and trading for Kevin Durant,” wrote Kurtenbach.
As he sees it, no team in the league can match Golden State’s best offer for Brooklyn, and bringing in KD would set the team on its proper course
“The Dubs have always had the best possible trade package for Durant. That hasn’t changed over the last month — it’s just become clearer how difficult it will be to keep the Warriors’ two timelines together,” he added.
Per guesstimates from The Athletic‘s Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson, the Warriors paying everyone and remaining on their current path would cost more than a half-billion dollars with repeater tax penalties in 2023-24 alone. The KD move would trim that bill and, in theory, make the Warriors title favorites for the next few years.
“If the Dubs ship off their ‘middle class’ — Poole and Wiggins — and one of their super young players — say, Jonathan Kuminga or James Wiseman — the Warriors can maintain (if not expand) their championship window in the present while keeping it open in the post-Curry future.”
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Durant & Co. Could Make It Work a Second Time
There’s no doubting that the Dubs reached new heights when Durant was in the fold. During their final year together in 2018-19, the four-man lineup combination of KD, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green dropped a whopping 120.7 points per 100 possessions on their team’s opponents, outscoring them by 16.2/100 poss. along the way.
Nevertheless, one has to wonder if the awkwardness created by Durant’s departure might affect the foursome’s on-court flow.
For his part, Kurtenbach doesn’t think so:
Whatever weirdness there was at the end of Durant’s time in Oakland, it no longer seems associated with the Warriors’ players. His beef with the media — myself included — is overblown, especially in an NBA where access is far more limited. And while I hear from most fans that “we don’t want him back”, I am certain that stance would melt instantaneously if Durant were wearing No. 35 for the Warriors again.