The Golden State Warriors could have some decisions to make in the near future.
The team is growing ever closer to the return of Klay Thompson, who has been rehabbing his way back from a torn Achilles. The Warriors have jumped out to a league-best 16-2 record without Thompson, and will need to find a place for guard Jordan Poole once Thompson is ready to reclaim that spot in the starting lineup. One insider suggests that he could be an attractive trade piece for the Warriors to snag another star.
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Warriors Could Flip Poole
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz identified the “most tradable” player on every team in the NBA, and made a case that the third-year Poole could be the one for the Warriors. He noted that rookies Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga could also serve as trade fodder, but said Poole’s value would be highest and fetch the best return for a Warriors team in win-now mode.
“Both Kuminga and Wiseman may have higher upsides, but Poole would likely fetch the most in a trade right now and has shown the ability to play a big role on a winning team,” he wrote. “The 22-year-old is averaging a career-high 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, starting all 16 of his appearances while Thompson continues to work his way back following his Achilles injury.”
The Warriors have hinted that Poole will move to the second unit when Thompson returns, adding a scoring boost to an already strong group of reserves. It’s not clear whether the Warriors would be willing to trade Poole, who is highly regarded within the organization. The Warriors have invested much into his development, splitting his time last season between Golden State and G League Santa Cruz Warriors.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob has hinted that the team is not looking to make any major trades, telling The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami that the team is built on a formula that calls for both established stars like Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green alongside budding young players who will eventually take over in leading the team.
Thompson’s Return Nears
The decision on what to do with Poole could be coming soon. As Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area reported, he was cleared for full participation in practices and five-on-five scrimmages this week, though the team is still taking a slow approach. Thompson is on track to play the week before Christmas, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr hinted that the team would not be rushing him back since he had spent so much time away from the court.
“I keep repeating this two-and-a-half years thing as often as I can,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “You know, even if Klay didn’t have this injury, didn’t have an ACL, didn’t have an Achilles, he just put the ball down for two-and-a-half years and we handed him the ball, it would take him a while to find a rhythm … We just have to preach patience and allow him the space he needs to be able to build his endurance, build his rhythm.”