While everything seems to be going well with his rehab, Stephen Curry’s foot injury remains a major concern for the Golden State Warriors. If he experiences any kind of setback or finds himself unable to perform at a high level in the playoffs, the team’s title hopes could be kaput.
And even if he does come out guns blazing in Round 1, there’s a chance the team still lacks what it needs to get out of the West. In particular, there’s nary a seven-foot center on the Dubs’ roster (that’s healthy, anyway) to compete against the league’s elite big men.
Sure Draymond Green is a defensive maven and Kevon Looney is a pro’s pro, but expecting either — or both, even — to battle the likes of Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Deandre Ayton, et al. over the course of a seven-game series is a tough ask.
With that being the case, the Warriors could look to shore up the pivot this offseason. If they do, one rival executive thinks they could make a play for an elite big man of their own.
West Exec: Golden State Could Target Rudy Gobert
Another star big man who the Warriors could face this postseason is Utah’s Rudy Gobert, a four-time All-NBA pick and three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Looking ahead, though, a West exec believes that he could be a trade target in the event that the Jazz decide to shake things up.
“If Rudy Gobert becomes available this summer, I think you’d find a lot of those veterans with the Warriors might want the team to make a run at him,” the exec told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.
While the Frenchman would be an awkward addition given the comments that Draymond Green has made about him over the years, Gobert could definitely help Golden State on the hardwood.
Alas, actually getting him to the Bay Area is a pricy proposition.
“It would cost them Wiggins and Wiseman but if you believe in Jordan Poole and Klay [Thompson] to man the wings for the next few years, I think the Warriors would have to consider it,” the exec said. “Talent-wise, Wiggins and Wiseman for Gobert is a good deal for both sides.”
Gobert is averaging 15.4 points, a league-leading 14.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest this season. He also leads the NBA in field-goal percentage (70.8%) and defensive real plus/minus (7.61).
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The Money Could be a Problem
Whether or not one believes Wiggins and Wiseman for Gobert is a fair-value trade, the financial cost of such a move for the Warriors would be otherworldly.
“Problem is, Gobert has the $200 million [$205 million, actually] extension kicking in and one of the things we’ve seen from the Warriors is, ‘OK we’re paying the tax, we are paying a lot of tax but there are limits,'” the exec said. “Making a move for Gobert is committing yourself to a lot of tax payment.”
In a vacuum, the aforementioned trade saves the Warriors $5 million next season. Unfortunately, it also leaves them with just seven players on the roster with more than $165 million in payroll, which essentially wipes out those “savings.” Moreover, Gobert’s annual number hits $41 million in 2023-24 and only goes up there.
So, the Warriors’ luxury tax hell would grow exponentially more hellacious in the long run by bringing in the Stifle Tower.