It Could Be ‘Malpractice’ for Warriors to Keep James Wiseman: Insider

James Wiseman

Getty Steph Curry congratulates James Wiseman after a dunk in a game against the Sacramento Kings.

The Golden State Warriors are nearing a crossroad, and one insider says the team may need to part ways with one of their most promising young players in order to take the path that leads to another NBA title.

This season, the Warriors have been able to remain the edges of the playoff race thanks almost entirely to the heroics of Steph Curry. The future Hall of Famer has turned in one of the most effective seasons of his career, achieving numbers nearly identical to those from his unanimous MVP season including a stretch of 11 consecutive games with 30 points or more. But the Warriors could waste the remaining years of Curry’s prime if they don’t change their approach and part ways with some valuable assets, says Wes Goldberg of the Bay Area News Group.

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Curry’s Last Stand

Appearing on the “Warriors Off Court” podcast with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau, Goldberg said the team will soon be nearing a critical decision. Curry’s unexpectedly good season has been fun to watch, he says, but will likely go to waste as the rest of the team lacks the talent to launch another run at a title. That means the team must be willing to make some tough decisions in the coming season in order to surround Curry with veteran talent needed to go for another title.

As Goldberg noted, the Warriors are expected to get Klay Thompson back next season and must set their goals high. That means abandoning any hopes of replicating the San Antonio Spurs model of constantly acquiring and developing talent to stay a contender for a long stretch and instead going all-in starting next season, he said.

“Their goal needs to be to win at least one more title,” Goldberg said. “Then, if you have to completely rebuild, that’s OK. They talk about wanting to follow the Spurs blueprint and be good for a long time, but I don’t think that’s possible right now.”

Going all in could likely mean trading rookie center James Wiseman or the top-three protected draft pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves that came from last year’s D’Angelo Russell trade, Goldberg said. Anything less than building a contending team would be franchise “malpractice,” he said.

Warriors Stuck With Wiseman

Trading Wiseman would represent a major change of course for the Warriors. Though the recently turned 20-year-old hit some bumps in his development this season before suffering a season-ending injury, the team stuck by him and committed to giving him playing time over the back half of the season to move along his development.

The Warriors would likely look for a significant return if Wiseman were to go on the block. Ahead of the trade deadline, Letourneau wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle that the team would seek a “generational” player in a trade for him, calling out Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid as examples of the kind of return they would be looking to get for him. It was not clear if Wiseman’s season-ending injury could have changed the dynamic.

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