The Golden State Warriors are officially “gone fishing,” after being eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Golden State’s 122-101 defeat at Crypto.com Arena sealed their fate on Friday, leaving them with plenty of questions heading into an important offseason.
One of the headliners there is “What will the Warriors do with Jordan Poole?”
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater, the team has some “hesitancy” when it comes to the idea of moving on from the 23-year-old.
“If cost-cutting is required, he profiles as the likeliest candidate,” the pair wrote of Poole. “Poole had a turbulent fourth season, beginning when he took the infamous preseason punch from [Draymond] Green during a training camp practice. Poole kept it professional in the aftermath and tensions cooled enough for the two to work together. But the relationship was never fully repaired and Poole’s struggles didn’t help the mood, culminating in a challenging playoffs that saw his efficiency plummet and minutes get reduced. There’s still hesitancy to move him. Poole averaged 20.4 points this season and has potent offensive capability that is lacking on the roster below Curry and will be needed as the core ages further. Is it wise to move off of that when his value is at its lowest in 12 months? Will the money crunch dictate it?”
Poole is set to see a significant pay increase next season, when his four year, $120 million contract extension kicks in. After what Charania and Slater called a “turbulent fourth season,” it’s tough to imagine the Dubs not at least entertaining the idea of moving on from him, in order to find a better way to spend their money.
Steve Kerr Believes Warriors ‘Maxed Out’ This Group
Golden State’s head coach had some harrowing words, after watching his team get bounced in L.A. on Friday night. Steve Kerr told the media that he believes that this team “maxed out,” and is not a championship team
“Our guys hung in there, we had a shot, and we couldn’t quite do it,” Kerr explained via NBC Sports Bay Area. “But the better team won. It felt like we were swimming upstream from the beginning. I think we found ourselves down the stretch and in the first round of the playoffs. To be fair, I think this team probably, ultimately, maxed out. I think we were barely in the playoff picture for most of the year. So to make that push, to get there, to win an epic first-round series, and then to give the Lakers a fight in this series and have our chances, that puts us within the top eight teams in the league. That’s probably where we should be. This is not a championship team. If we were, we’d be moving on.”
Draymond Green Echoes Steve Kerr’s ‘Maxed Out’ Belief on Warriors
Draymond Green echoed the message of his coach, during his final postgame availability of the season. Green agreed that the group was “maxed out,” but reinforced his belief in the team’s core, hinting that there could be changes in the supporting cast.
“I think this group definitely maxed out what we could do,” Green said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “You know, it wasn’t a championship team, we didn’t win it. It sucks, but that’s our reality. That doesn’t mean our core changes. That doesn’t mean our core can’t do it again. Like, they said we couldn’t do it again last year, we did it. They said we’d miss the playoffs this year, we didn’t. But guess what, we don’t do moral victories, so we lost. This was not a championship group as it stands. But we have champions and we’re made up of champions. When you are a champion and you have that mindset, you just go back to the drawing board, retool, and re-figure it out, and go do it again. That’s what’ll be our focus, but it wasn’t a championship group, as we can see as we sit here and the season’s over.”
It’s tough not to think of Poole when hearing both Kerr and Green hint at changes this summer. Golden State’s No. 3 had a rough go in the playoffs this year, averaging just 10.3 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game. The real issue came in his efficiency. Poole made just 34.1% of his attempts from the field and 25.4% of his shots from beyond the arc.
In a playoff setting, those splits just don’t cut it. Though there’s been no official report of his teammates being disappointed in him, it’s tough to imagine that the guys in the Warriors’ haven’t dreamed of how things could’ve differed if Poole showed up this spring.