Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga Ranks Among NBA’s Top Trade Chips: Analyst

Jonathan Kumingas Warriors-Mavs

Getty Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga looks on during a game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Few prospects have captured the imagination of Golden State Warriors fans — at least since the team began winning NBA championships year after year — like Jonathan Kuminga.

The 20-year-old is a rare breed for a team that has largely avoided being in the lottery for a decade-plus; a top-seven pick with off-the-charts athleticism, a hunger to make a name for himself and, at least in theory, a sky-high ceiling on both sides of the ball.

According to a recent report from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, though, the Dubs are considering trading him for a premium pick in the upcoming draft. And given the fact that Kuminga has yet to really grab and hold onto a regular spot in Steve Kerr‘s rotation after two years — not the mention the team’s next-level luxury tax issues — one could definitely rationalize kicking the can down the road with another prospect.

For his part, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale has gone so far as to suggest that Kuminga is one of the “10 best trade chips” in the Association this offseason. However, he sees the team eyeing a different kind of return in a potential deal.

B/R: Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga Still Boasts ‘Core-Player Mystique’

As was the case with former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, giving up on Kuminga at this point — his shortcomings and/or perceived missteps notwithstanding — would be a gut punch. One could argue that it would be even worse this time around with Kuminga actually having been an on-court contributor at various junctures.

That said, winning continues to be the priority in the Bay. And, as Favale sees it, Kuminga is someone who could be used to reel in another big fish as part of the effort to extend Golden State’s current window of contention:

Can the 20-year-old be the front-and-center asset in a trade that lands the Warriors another big-time rotation weapon, super-duper-luxury-tax implications be damned?

I lean toward yes.

Kuminga’s inconsistent usage has short-circuited some of his appeal. But he doesn’t turn 21 until October, has two more years left on his rookie scale and is worth more extensive run than he’s received.

In 67 appearances for the Warriors last season, including 16 starts, Kuminga averaged 9.9 points and 3.4 boards in 20.8 minutes per contest. He also connected on 52.5% of his shot attempts overall and 37.0% of his tries from three-point range.

Added Favale: “Much of his armory, at both ends, remains unpolished. But this is a prospect with core-player mystique.”

Kuminga Is Open to Change If His Situation Doesn’t Improve

The Warriors aren’t the only ones doing some soul-searching about this particular relationship. Kuminga also has concerns about his place with Golden State amid his reduced postseason role and the current logjam of non-shooting big men on the roster.

The Athletic’s Anthony Slater and Shams Charania reported last month that the Congolese national could eye a move away from the Warriors if the team doesn’t make getting him more minutes a high priority:

The Warriors and Kuminga’s representatives are expected to discuss his future this offseason, league sources say. Golden State will need to decide whether Kuminga will receive a full-time role moving forward, and, if not, league sources say the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft will want to be somewhere he can play more.

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