The Golden State Warriors will be a little soft in the frontcourt to start the season, and one new report proposes that the team trade for one of the best defensive big men in the league to fill in the gaps.
The Warriors announced this week that center James Wiseman, who was forced to miss the end of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, will not be able to fully participate in practice until October 15. It’s not clear yet when he will be able to return to games, with the Warriors saying his status will be re-evaluated again after that date. Facing the prospect of starting the season without their starting center, the Warriors could consider a trade, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz suggested.
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Warriors Target Top Shot Blocker
As Swartz wrote, the Warriors could fill both a short- and long-term need by seeking Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner in a trade. Swartz noted that even beyond Wiseman’s immediate injury concerns, it’s still unclear whether he’s ready to slide into the starting lineup on a permanent basis after playing in just 39 games last season.
“This leaves Kevon Looney as the only true, healthy center on the roster, with Nemanja Bjelica and Draymond Green able to play the 5 for stretches. For a team that fully expects to try and win a title once Klay Thompson returns, this isn’t ideal,” he wrote.
Swartz speculated that Golden State could target either Turner or Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood, both of whom would bring a significant upgrade at center. And because both big men make $18 million or less, the Warriors wouldn’t need to part with wing Andrew Wiggins to make the salary match, he added.
If the Warriors want to add a big and effective rim protector, there are few candidates with a stronger resume than Turner. The 6-foot-11 center led the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game last year while also adding a strong scoring threat, averaging 12.6 points and hitting 33.5% of his three-pointers.
Warriors Have Shown Interest in Turner
There may be more to the report than mere speculation. Back in July, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported on the “NBA Mismatch” podcast that the Warriors had engaged in some trade talks with the Pacers regarding Turner.
“They are having trade conversations, I have not seen reported that, I believe I had it in my story that they’ve had some conversations with the Pacers, the Pacers have been one of the more active teams, the name that I’ve heard involved in those conversations is Myles Turner,” O’Connor said.
The Warriors could also need to make an unexpected visit to the trade market. According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, there is some growing concern within the organization about Wiggins’ decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which could put his availability in jeopardy. Due to local regulations, the Warriors will not be able to let unvaccinated players enter the arena for games or team activities unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption, so Wiggins may not be able to play in home games unless he changes course and gets the shot.