The Golden State Warriors may be gearing up for a run at the title currently, but they’ve got major decisions to make in the not-so-distant future. Specifically, there’s an Andrew Wiggins-Jordan Poole conundrum that needs solving.
Over the first half of the season, Wiggins was playing career-best ball on both sides of the court. In doing so, he earned his first All-Star appearance and kept the Warriors in the mix for a top playoff seed.
Since then, though, he has looked out of sorts at times for the Dubs. Meanwhile, fellow wing Jordan Poole has ascended to rising star status, all but assuring himself a lucrative contract extension in the process. Unfortunately, Wiggins’ presence — and his massive salary slot — make such a maneuver pretty hard to pull off.
Enter the New York Knicks, who could clear the way for Poole’s big payday and help themselves in the process with one simple trade.
Wiggins to NY a Win-Win Deal?
The deal we’re pitching stacks up as follows:
- New York Knicks receive: G/F Andrew Wiggins
- Golden State Warriors get: G/F Evan Fournier, PG Kemba Walker
For the Warriors, the rationale is simple with this one. There’s simply no way the team can afford to re-up or extend Wiggins and/or Poole currently. Even if money wasn’t an issue, Poole suddenly bearing the look of a 20-point scorer warrants clearing some room for him on the wings.
By doing this trade, the Dubs free up some cash and minutes for Poole while still bringing back assets/potentially useful players in Fournier and Walker as opposed to letting Wiggins walk for nothing. Moreover, the two-for-one scenario helps Golden State round out its roster.
As it stands, the club is deep into luxury-tax territory with just eight players under contract for 2022-23.
Meanwhile, Fournier could make up some of Wiggins’ offense and would do so at a cheaper price (of $18-19 million annually). This season, he’s averaging 14.2 points while shooting 39.3% from three.
Poole would still get his, too, as Steve Kerr probably wouldn’t feel compelled to give the Frenchman more than 20-25 minutes nightly.
As for Walker, the four-time All-Star may be coming off a career-worst year, but a defined role as a go-to option off the bench may just bring out the best in him.
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Why It Works for the Knicks
By trading for Wiggins here, the Knicks would get off a pair of deals that look significantly worse now than they did less than a year ago when they were signed. The 2022 All-Star’s $33.6 million number next season is a beast, but after that — they’re free of obligation.
Otherwise, New York would still be paying Fournier through 2024.
That said, there’s also the chance that Wiggins — who’s still in the thick of his prime at 27 — could be a building-block piece for the Knicks next to RJ Barrett. As it stands, he’s a significantly better defender than Fournier, even if he has failed to live up to his pre-draft hype in that department.
Additionally, his athleticism and continually developing three-point shot make him a bigger threat offensively as well.
The Knicks could also dangle Wiggins as a trade piece in their pursuit of a high-level floor general.