The Golden State Warriors starting lineup could look very different within a few weeks, a league insider speculates.
With the Warriors hovering at the edge of the playoff picture in the Western Conference and looking to jump back into title contention with the return of Klay Thompson next season, there is speculation that the club could be buyers at the trade deadline. But a report speculates that one member of the starting lineup would need to be on the move in order to land an asset that would help reach those goals.
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Starter Could Be on the Way Out
James Herbert of CBS Sports ran through the 40 NBA players most likely to be dealt ahead of the deadline this year, and identified Andrew Wiggins as the most likely Warrior to move. Herbert noted that it’s not exactly likely for Wiggins to be traded, but wrote that he would be the most logical player to be involved in any move landing the Warriors a star player.
It would likely cost more than just Wiggins, he added.
“In theory, they could package him with the top-three-protected 2021 first-round pick that came with him from Minnesota, or even attach his contract to rookie center James Wiseman,” Herbert wrote. “It’s unclear if a single player that might be worth relinquishing one of those assets is available, though. (Wiggins’ salary is $29.5 million this season and he is owed $33.6 million in 2022-23.)”
Wiggins had not been named much in trade rumors to date. He came to Golden State as part of last year’s trade sending D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves, which also gave the Warriors the top-three protected pick.
Wiggins Struggled in Last Month
After a strong start to the season that included hitting threes at a 40.6 percent clip through January, Wiggins has cooled in recent weeks. As NBC Sports noted, he hit 27.3 percent from behind the three-point arc last month and 44.9 percent overall from the field, falling behind Kelly Oubre as the team’s second scoring option behind Steph Curry.
Head coach Steve Kerr attributed the dip in production to the grind of the season catching up with Wiggins.
“I think this just may be fatigue,” Kerr said this week. “I think everybody is a little worn down right now. This is typical just before the All-Star break for guys to, maybe, wane a little bit and I think you’ll see Andrew’s play come back up pretty soon.”
From 3 through January
-Andrew Wiggins: 41-of-101 (40.6 percent)
-Kelly Oubre: 21-of-101 (22.8 percent)
From 3 in February
-Andrew Wiggins: 21-of-75 (28 percent)
-Kelly Oubre: 37-of-84 (44 percent)
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 1, 2021
The report noted that he has remained a strong defender, forcing opposing players to shoot 4.2 percentage points worse from the field than when someone else was guarding them.
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 3, 2021
It’s not yet clear what trade avenues the Warriors could pursue ahead of the deadline. One rumored target, New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, appears to be staying put as the team has reportedly committed to keeping him after a strong stretch of play in recent weeks. The Warriors have also been seen as a top contender for Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal, though they would likely need to part with Wiseman and the Minnesota pick to pull off the deal.