The Golden State Warriors have been connected to a number of big-name players ahead of this month’s trade deadline, but an insider says the team may be more cautious in its spending.
The Warriors tumbled into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak that dropped them to ninth place in the Western Conference. While they are within striking distance of the sixth seed that would avoid the play-in tournament, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau noted that Golden State may be less willing to take a buyer’s mentality around the March 25 deadline.
ALL the latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Warriors Wary of Spending Too Much
Reports emerged this week that the Warriors could be interested in a deal for Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, which Letourneau said would suggest that Golden State is going all-in on securing a playoff berth. But he said the team is not willing to “mortgage its future to maybe win a postseason series,” and unlikely to give up the two assets teams are most likely to ask for — rookie center James Wiseman and the top-three protected pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He noted that this year’s NBA draft is stacked with potential franchise players at the top, and the Warriors have a 59.9 percent chance of getting the No. 4 or No. 5 pick.
As Letourneau wrote, the Warriors are not giving up Wiseman or the Minnesota pick for someone like Bradley Beal, another rumored trade target.
“But according to a team source, the Warriors ‘almost definitely’ wouldn’t surrender that Timberwolves selection or Wiseman unless they got back someone generational such as Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo,” he wrote.
Oladipo Could Still Be Within Reach
Despite the more cautious approach, Letourneau suggested that the Warriors could still be able to acquire Oladipo without having to part with one of the coveted assets. He noted that the Rockets guard has struggled in his second season after undergoing major knee surgery, scoring 20 points per game on 39.9 percent shooting, including 33.1 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Other insiders believe this could be the most likely deadline move for the Warriors, especially given that Oladipo is on an expiring contract. Brad Botkin of CBS Sports wrote that Oladipo would make sense for the Warriors, adding a much-needed second scoring option behind Steph Curry and boosting the team’s perimeter defense.
Botkin suggested that the Warriors could pull off the deal while still keeping Wiseman and the Minnesota pick, though it may mean parting with both Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins.
Whatever deadline move Golden State decides to make, or not make, Botkin agrees that the club will be focusing on a long-term approach that values jumping back into title contention next season over squeaking into the playoffs in this one. That means a big acquisition could be coming somewhere down the line, he wrote.
“One way or another, the Warriors need another major contributor to truly get back into the championship chase next season,” he wrote. “The return of Klay Thompson, off an Achilles and ACL tear, almost certainly won’t be enough on its own.”