The Warriors’ three big stars — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green — urged Warriors’ management to trade their two lottery picks for a star player that can help them win now.
That didn’t happen. Bradley Beal wants to remain in Washington, Damian Lillard hasn’t made a trade request, and there were a lot of teams looking for veteran help and not many veterans available. The Warriors were in the middle of seemingly every major trade rumor, their fans (and players) want a blockbuster, but team owner Joe Lacob said not to expect one, speaking to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
“It’s very unlikely, I’ve said that we’re not going to trade for anybody that people are expecting. Very unlikely. It’s not impossible. But if it was going to be somebody, it was going to be somebody really great. It was going to be a big trade. It’s unlikely.”
The Warriors were in the middle of some Ben Simmons trade rumors, but does a James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, and picks for Simmons trade make the Warriors better? (The Warriors are also not sending an All-Star back to Philadelphia that the 76ers are demanding.)
Lacob is trying to walk the line of winning now while at the same time growing the next generation of Golden State stars. It’s tough to do, and it’s not going to be popular with the fan base.
The Warriors could be interesting in a few years if everything breaks their way. James Wiseman’s rookie season did not impress (although he showed flashes of potential), but coach Steve Kerr watched the development of Deandre Ayton in Phoenix and took hope. No. 7 pick Jonathan Kuminga has the tools to become an elite two-way wing, and No. 14 pick Moses Moody looks like a future 3&D wing player so valuable in the modern game. Combine all that with the impressive rookie run of Jordan Poole, and Lacob envisions a team that can contend with a combination of young and old together in a couple of years.
“So the more likely path — and the path that I think, as an owner, I feel most comfortable with, quite frankly — is to bridge the gap to the future,” Lacob said. “We’ve got three or four contracts and big players that are still in their early 30s, still have quite a bit of time to go, especially in this day and age. If we can kind of have a Wiseman and a Kuminga and a Moody and a Poole (help in the meantime). They don’t have to be awesome next year. With a great investment in our player development staff, we just want them to show great potential.”
It’s a big bet. The conventional wisdom is that while a team has a Hall of Fame talent such as Curry, they go all-in on winning now. That’s what the core stars asked the team to do. It didn’t come together because the kind of trades that fans wanted were not available; now the Warriors seemed to settle in on Plan B.
We’ll see how that plan looks, and how the Warriors feel, 30 games into next season.