Warriors Urged to Flip Former Top Prospect for $52 Million Scorer

Kerr, Curry, Warriors

Getty Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors talks with Stephen Curry against the Chicago Bulls during a game at United Center on January 15, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Time is running out for the Golden State Warriors to solidify their roster in the hopes of another run to an NBA Championship.

The days of playing both sides of the fence — trying to remain contenders now while also stockpiling for the future — appear to be over in Golden State, as former No. 2 pick James Wiseman and other young pieces have become potential trade fodder to help improve the team’s chances at another NBA Finals appearance this year.

The two biggest questions are:

  1. Who should the Warriors target to best help them rise out of the West?
  2. How much is that player, or players, going to cost them?

There are competing notions as to the former query, with improvements to a thin frontline making empirical sense considering the defensive burdens placed on Kevon Looney and Draymond Green in the post.

That said, the Dubs were able to navigate those deficiencies last season and capture a title, so perhaps a prominent backcourt addition with a bend toward offensive production is the appropriate zig to the more obvious zag of acquiring a big man or two.

In that case, Gary Trent Jr. of the Toronto Raptors is exactly the type of player who can move the needle for a Warriors team that owns a record of 26-24 and currently occupies the No. 5 spot in a crowded Western Conference.

Trent Can Move Needle in Championship Direction For Warriors

gary trent jr

GettyGary Trent Jr. of the Toronto Raptors is a potential target for the Golden State Warriors ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently made some sobering comments as to the NBA’s upcoming February 9 trade deadline. On his podcast, Brian Windhorst & the Hoops Collective, the namesake host said flatly that none of the players either known or strongly suspected to be on the trade market this year are the types who can swing championship odds.

However, Windhorst added the caveat that those circumstances are liable to change should the Raptors move to become sellers. Toronto is currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-29, one full game out of the Play-In Tournament were it to start today.

Trent is among those on the Raptors’ roster who could add some scoring bonafides to a team like the Warriors. The shooting guard has appeared in 45 games this season, starting 35 of those, though he would certainly be a bench player were he to join the Dubs’ rotation.

He is averaging more than 18 points per game (18.6) for the second straight season in 33.2 minutes of floor time per night, according to Basketball Reference. Trent is shooting nearly 44.5% from the field and just shy of 37% from behind the 3-point line, making him an attractive scoring option alongside Jordan Poole for the Warriors’ second unit.

Golden State’s starters boast one of the best overall lineups in the entire NBA, but the team’s backups remain among the worst in the league. The Dubs’ bench owns a net rating of -2.3, per statistics provided by NBA.com, which slots them 27th out of 30 teams.

Overall performance can obviously be addressed by adding offense or defense, but with the way the Warriors prefer to play and all the shooting they already have on the roster, a dynamic bench scorer seems the more logical way to go so as not to disrupt pace and floor spacing across varying lineups.

Wiseman, Other Young Warriors Must be Included in Trade For Trent

James Wiseman of the Golden State Warriors.

GettyJames Wiseman of the Golden State Warriors is on the block as the NBA’s trade deadline approaches.

If Trent is the appropriate answer to the first question facing the Warriors at the deadline, then that begs the second question of what he will cost.

Trent is currently playing on the second year of a three-year deal worth just shy of $52 million with a player option for the 2023-24 campaign. The first issue is matching up the salaries necessary to get a deal done, which Heavy.com’s NBA insider Sean Deveney addressed back in November.

“The likes of [Trent] … would be ideal, though the Warriors might have to give up too much (some combination of Donte DiVincenzo, Jonathan Kuminga and/or Moses Moody) to make salaries match for a deal to work,” Deveney said.

Beyond that, the Dubs will be negotiating from a position of weakness considering Wiseman’s trade value is as low as it has been over the course of his three seasons in the league. Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report addressed that portion of a Wiseman-for-Trent trade equation on Wednesday, February 1.

Wiseman’s worth on the market today is probably as low as it’s ever going to get, forcing Golden State to transact at the deadline from a position of extreme weakness.

The Warriors need to get better in the immediate, before the whole thing implodes this summer. Wiseman is the only realistic way to do that — even if the improvement is uncertain at worst and marginal at best.

The crop of players the Warriors might be able to choose from in a Wiseman-centric deal aren’t household names. … Then again, some help is better than none, which is what Wiseman is providing.

All things considered, Trent is a player on the high end of what the Warriors could get in return for a trade package that includes Wiseman, Kuminga and another young player, while also being someone who can fit into the Dubs’ system and provide an upgrade of some sort.

Whether the Warriors will pull the trigger on Trent remains a legitimate question, especially with multiple other potential options in the mix. But one thing is for certain — Golden State will look aggressively for a deal over the next eight days, and the chances that Wiseman is at its center remain incredibly high.

Read More