“Winning solves everything” is a phrase often spoken in NBA circles and, for most, it’s a concept that feels true. Example: the Andrew Wiggins-Jordan Poole dilemma of the Golden State Warriors.
Before the Dubs won the championship, the capologists would have told you there was no way the team could keep both players long term, and a heartbreaking choice would have to be made sooner rather than later. Fast forward to now, and Golden State is apparently close to signing both players to massive extensions.
Truth be told, however, tough decisions still need to be made. Even after Wiggins and Poole are sorted, team president Bob Myers and his think tank have Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to consider, not to mention a slew of talented youngsters further down the line.
At some point, something has to give.
So in an effort to get out of the situation – rather than kicking the box – we’re initiating a deadline trade with Wiggins as the centerpiece.
Wiggins heads to the Magic Kingdom
Make no mistake – Wiggins earned his sack for playing a pivotal role in the Warriors’ title race last season and finally shaking off his rep as the first pick gone wrong. That doesn’t mean the Dubs should be the ones paying him over $30 million a year for the next few years.
Instead, Golden State can reward him for his efforts, give him a victory lap in the early months of next season, then do what needs to be done by the deadline and make this move with the Magic:
- Orlando Magic receive G/F Andrew Wiggins
- Golden State Warriors PG Markelle Fultz and PF Jonathan Isaac
You could say that Fultz would give the Warriors the opportunity to rehabilitate the image of another No. 1 pick. The truth, however, is that Fultz has already done it.
The 24-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent years, but when he’s on the court he’s shown major talent as a playmaker. In his last full season with the Magic in 2019 -2020, he averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. And those numbers have largely held true in the seasons that have followed.
On the contrary, Fultz was even more effective as a quarterback in 18 games last season, with an assist percentage of 48.9.
He could be the real point that the Dubs have been missing behind Steph Curry recently. In turn, Poole would step into Wiggins’ old spot in the starting five (where he belongs).
The Dubs would also find themselves free of Wiggins’ extended contract, having replaced him with a pair of much more manageable, shorter-term deals.
Meanwhile, Fultz’s outing would free up some extra minutes for Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony in Orlando’s backcourt. And Wiggins would become the All-Star and the Championship Player to help show them, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and the rest of the Magic’s prospects how to win (while still being young enough to be part of that core itself).
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Isaac is boom or bust
The biggest question mark in this proposal is Isaac, who has been missing for two years after tearing his ACL. However, in a recent interview with OrlandoMagic.com, the former No. 6 overall pick indicated that there is finally “light at the end of the tunnel” when it comes to a comeback.
By making the trade at the deadline, the Warriors could track his progress on the field through the first half of the 2022-23 season. If he can look like he was before the injury, he could be an incredible asset to the team.
Standing at 6ft 11in with a wingspan of 7ft, Isaac takes up a ton of court space. This, combined with his motor skills, athleticism, and defensive switching ability, makes him a problem for opposing teams; someone who can take on the toughest defensive assignments, regardless of position.
Then, on the other end, he’s the rare big one that shows potential as both a stretcher and a rim runner. In 34 games in 2019-20, Isaac averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals while shooting 34% from three-pointers and recording 37 dunks.
Time will tell what he left behind, however.
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