NBA

Will the Warriors trade Jordan Poole and keep Andrew Wiggins?

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The Golden State Warriors’ first preseason game is a month away, so it’s a great time to dive into another mailbag. Dub Nation asked great questions and I did my best to answer them.

No, I do not think so. The interest of making an exchange would be to lower their payroll. But they have to match wages in a trade, which means they get that money back immediately. So the only way they’re going to get anything worthwhile if they trade Andrew Wiggins or Draymond Green is to recoup that salary on an expiring contract from a team that’s also set to add some exciting future assets.

Even if it were doable – and I really, really don’t think it is – is it worth seriously damaging their championship chances this year? I do not think so.

So that leaves swapping Jordan Poole, who isn’t on a big contract yet, as the only option. The Warriors could have a great player for Poole, but they don’t look alike. They’ll be worse off this year as they chase a championship, and they’ll take their chance to re-sign Poole if he makes another leap, or if Wiggins regresses, or whatever. Not worth the risk, at all.

Of course, they could always opt to keep Green, Wiggins and Poole and offload Klay Thompson’s contract instead. The only realistic way to do that while picking up an expiring contract is to send it to the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook, who… listen, I’m just going to move on to the next question now.

If Kevon Looney doesn’t start the playoffs next year, it’s because one of two things happened. And this thing is either very good (James Wiseman bursts out) or very bad (Looney gets hurt).

I highly doubt Wiseman will be a better player than Looney this year. I strongly, strongly doubt it. And even if he was, he should be then far better than it’s worth taking the chemistry hit of bailing out the guy who’s been in relationships with Thompson, Green and Steph Curry for years.

Hopefully Wiseman will be a force when it comes to the playoff role, but the fact that he wins the starting role is asking too much, I think.

Taking these two questions together. Poole will be a restricted free agent next offseason, but it has been reported that the Warriors are unwilling to spend what will be necessary to re-sign him, Wiggins and Green.

Which means the answer to the question Is Jordan Poole leaving? is maybe?

Barring something weird, the question really should come down to whether the Warriors want to keep Poole or Wiggins. Anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Twitter knows where I stand: I would thank Wiggins for his incredible 2021-22 season, give him a wonderful championship ring (hopefully two), give him a standing ovation every time he would walk into the Chase Center, and send it packing eight days a week.

But do the Warriors agree with me? For now, I don’t think they do. If they were to make the decision today, I would predict they would keep Wiggins and let Poole go in free agency. But they don’t have to make that decision today, thankfully, and perhaps the most compelling story of the season for the Dubs – aside from the whole Can they win another championship? thing – is whether either player can emerge as the clear choice.

As for Poole’s rookie extension, the deadline is Oct. 18 — the same day the Warriors kick off the season by raising a banner in front of the Lakers. There’s plenty of incentive for the Warriors to get a deal done by then, so if they pick Wiggins over Poole, they can trade JP rather than let him walk for nothing. But there may be less incentive for Poole, who could embark on an even bigger contract with another step forward, and potentially choose his destination in free agency.

The Warriors have remained mum on the status of their rookie feet. The team didn’t seem worried on draft day or before the Summer League, and I can’t imagine much has changed. But we probably won’t hear anything for a few weeks.

I do not think so. On the contrary, RJ Barrett’s four-year contract – worth up to $120 million – hurts Poole, as it takes the only team that is reliably willing to make silly contract decisions on the market before Poole even reached free agency. I’m mostly joking, but only mostly. I don’t think anyone would be shocked to see the New York Knicks, if they had the cap space, throwing everything possible at Poole.

Bad contracts happen in the NBA. I still think the Anfernee Simons (four-year, $100m) and Jalen Brunson (four-year, $104m) deals will set the stage for Poole. Bad contracts don’t really drive the market, just as Timofey Mozgov signing a four-year, $64 million contract did nothing but give us another reason to laugh at the Lakers.

It takes multiple teams overpaying to define the market. For now, Poole’s market is set by the other young guards – guards better than, I might add – who have been properly paid.

It is always difficult to answer the questions of the second formation because, at the risk of slipping away, what constitutes a second formation? Gone are the days of all five starters sitting down while a new starter five took over. Now it’s just a rotating crop of a few benchers and a few starters.

I will therefore take the opportunity to build a formation without Curry or Green, and say that I am very interested in a formation composed of Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, Thompson, Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga. They would be an incredibly fun team that would be absolutely electric in transition.

Andre Iguodala!

I say that half-jokingly. While a lot of Dub Nation have deteriorated on Iguodala, I actually think he’s still a quality player and fits very well into this team. But I also bring up his name because he’s probably the only realistic option left. Realistic in the sense that he’s probably the only free agent the Dubs are actually open to signing.

But, hypothetically, suppose the Warriors are looking for another name. Three players stand out for me: Dennis Schröder, Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony.

Schröder is not far from a top player, and in the right system – while trying to rebuild his value – I think he could become a very good player again. Do the Warriors need another guard dominating the ball? No way. But good players are good players and you can’t have too many.

Whiteside, if we’re assuming the Warriors don’t care about him off the pitch (and that’s a big “if”), is the most talented player available, in my eyes. Despite all the …. uh … Things around him, Whiteside is an excellent defensive player and one of the best rebounders in the league, as well as a very effective scorer. To be honest, he’s really good. His reputation just isn’t. With Wiseman still a gigantic question mark, the Warriors could do much worse than add a starting-caliber center to back up Looney.

And Melo is… look, he’s not a very good player anymore, but since he’s reduced his role in recent years, he’s seen his offensive efficiency take off. The Warriors are a great defensive team and a mediocre offensive team, and a 10-15 mins-a-night player who can kick off the bench wouldn’t hurt them.

But I think they are done moving, apart from Iguodala.

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