The Golden State Warriors remain publicly committed to the development of struggling center James Wiseman, but one insider believes they may ultimately need to look to the trade market to find a big man who can help them repeat as NBA champions.
The Warriors came into this season with high hopes for Wiseman, who missed the back half of his rookie season and the entirety of his second year with a knee injury. After losing big men Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica last offseason, Wiseman was slated to play a key role in the rotation behind starting center Kevon Looney but struggled in his role and was sent down to the G League for more development.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reports that the Warriors may now be looking for some outside help to bolster the frontcourt.
Warriors Have Eyes on Spurs Big Man
As Pincus reported, the Warriors are in the running for Phoenix Suns big man Jae Crowder as he heads to the trade block, but there may be others in mind.
“Beyond adding a versatile defensive wing in Crowder, competing executives believe the Warriors covet additional size in a player like Jakob Poeltl of the San Antonio Spurs or Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers,” Pincus noted.
Of the two, Poeltl may be the more likely target given that he is in the final year of a $26 million contract and the Spurs are focused on a rebuild, Pincus wrote. He added that the Pacers are committed to keeping their core together after starting the season 10-6, hoping for a strong playoff run and likely averse to giving up a key player like Turner.
Actually pulling off a trade for Poeltl would require some sacrifices, Pincus noted. The Warriors have remained committed to a “two timeline” plan in which Wiseman along with 2021 lottery picks Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga form a core to keep the team in title contention beyond the tenures of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Landing Poeltl would require the Warriors to give up a significant chunk of the second timeline, he wrote.
“Leaving the team’s three stars out of the equation (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green), that leaves Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins and the Warriors’ three top prospects in Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody,” he wrote.
“Wiseman would be necessary to include to make the numbers work before December 15. Additionally, the Warriors must include Kuminga and at least one of the remaining three prospects—or the team could keep Kuminga and send Moody with Baldwin and Rollins.”
Clock Ticking for Warriors
League executives have noted a growing sense of urgency in Golden State. Pincus reported that the team’s slow start has started to raise worry that the Warriors could waste Curry’s remaining prime years — and potentially one of his best ever. Curry is averaging 31.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this season, all close to career highs.
One Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports insider Sean Deveney that the Warriors may soon consider a player to fill the vacant 15th roster spot, even though it would come at a very high price for a team already deep in the luxury tax.
Pincus noted that among the players on the immediate horizon, the Spurs big man might be the best fit.
“It’s Poeltl (27) who might move the needle for the Warriors to let some of the future aspirations go to focus earnestly on repeating,” he wrote. “Crowder may not have Wiseman’s ‘star’ power, but in reality, Wiseman may not have it either.”