After an early exit from the Western Conference playoffs, the Golden State Warriors have an interesting offseason ahead of them. For two seasons, they’ve ridden the line of competing for a title while still developing the team’s next core of younger players, but they may not be able to do both anymore.
To remain in win-now mode with the aging core of Steph Curry (35), Klay Thompson (33) and Draymond Green (33), sacrificing developing star Jordan Poole may be become a necessity, given his $28.7 million salary. The Warriors already will have $122.6 million tied up in Curry, Thompson and Green.
“They’re pretty much stuck with that core,” said “Pick a Side” podcast host River Brown in a Bleacher Report segment on numerous hypothetical trade scenarios for the Warriors. In most of them, generated by viewers in Brown’s chat, Poole would be the centerpiece. In one, the Warriors would send Poole, Andrew Wiggins (the team’s fifth highest-paid player, at $24.3 million next year) and Jonathan Kuminga to the Toronto Raptors for Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.
“Whoo, that’s a lot!” Brown said at point, seemingly acknowledging the unlikelihood of such a deal. When one viewer pushed back on the proposal, Brown responded, “This is a hypothetical trade. It’s fantasy; we can dream. Don’t come in here hatin.'”
Poole, who signed a four-year, $128 million extension in October 2022, became viewed as expendable after a regular season in which he didn’t elevate as expected and a disappointing postseason in which he scored 10.3 points per game, compared with the 17.0 points per game that he scored in the Warriors’ run to the NBA title last season.
“Maybe it might be time this offseason for both teams to part ways,” Andscape’s Marc J. Spear said May 9 on KNBR’s “Papa & Lund” podcast. “Really just been kind of disappointed about Poole’s everything — from the way, not only that he’s played, but the lack of accountability as well.”
A deal of this magnitude would see two franchises accomplish two different goals. Golden State would add two win-now pieces around Curry and the rest of their core, creating a new starting lineup of Curry, Thompson, Anunoby, Green and Siakam.
Meanwhile, the Raptors, by trading their best player (Siakam) and another part of their core, would be hitting the reset button. They’ve already fired Nick Nurse; creating a new young core could be the next step. Canada native Wiggins, 28, would replace Anunoby, Poole (who will turn 24 in June) and Kuminga (20) would have a lot more freedom to develop on a new-look Raptors.
Jordan Poole Discusses Struggles in Warriors Playoff Run
During his exit interview, Poole broke down his struggles during the Warriors’ playoff run this season, noting the differences between this year and last season’s postseason.
“Probably just a little bit of a role change,” Poole said. “Last year, I could come in, score, be aggressive with the team that we had around being more of a facilitator. Trying to get guys off the ball. Get them easy shots. Throughout the course of the playoffs, we had two really good defensive teams that we played. Just trying to find ways to facilitate, get inside.”
He said that every postseason run is different.
“It’s not always about scoring,” said Poole. “It’s about finding ways to try to help her team be successful. I think every playoffs will be different. Everything won’t be the same. And like I said, you learn from that, grow from that, and apply it to your skill set.”
Warriors’ Jordan Poole Declines to Detail Draymond Green Punch
In addition, Poole also recently spoke about the October 2022 incident in which Green punched him during a practice. In a May 15 interview with Logan Murdock of The Ringer, he was standoffish with his response.
“I don’t have no answer for you other than that we was just on the court and teammates, and we was out there trying to win games,” Poole said. “It’s just business, honestly. And that’s really all it was, it is, it has been. It’s just been business. It’s been basketball.”