D'Angelo Russell

NBA rumors: Warriors didn't acquire Andrew Wiggins just to trade him

NBA rumors: Warriors didn't acquire Andrew Wiggins just to trade him

When it comes to the Warriors and the NBA, so much is up in the air.

It's extremely difficult to make plans for the future when you don't know when the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery and 2020 NBA Draft will take place, or what the 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax line will be.

But as Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes, the Warriors have a plan in place for Andrew Wiggins:

Ask anyone in the organization — during their private or public moments — they got Wiggins with the expectation that he’ll be their starting small forward next season, not just a matching contract to flip (like they did with D'Angelo Russell).

Since the moment Golden State acquired Wiggins from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for D-Lo, practically everybody affiliated with the franchise has discussed Wiggins' positional fit.

The Warriors needed to add some length and athleticism on the wing, and Wiggins checks both those boxes. The Dubs are confident the 25-year-old will thrive alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

But as we all know, the NBA is a business. There are very few players who completely are off limits in a trade.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Even Draymond Green -- a franchise icon who begins a four-year contract extension next season -- knows he could have been shipped out of town.

"This is f--king Kevin Durant we're talking about. Yeah, I've done great things here. But let me tell you this -- if Kevin really wanted to be here, all he would have done is went to Bob and said, 'Yeah, I'll stay. But Draymond gotta go,' " he explained on the "All the Smoke" podcast last month. "And guess what -- (general manager) Bob Myers would have called me and said, 'Draymond, I love you -- and I won't trade you to a bad team -- but where do you want to go?'"

[RELATED: Is Warriors landing Giannis worth price of losing Klay?]

Before the NBA season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Wiggins averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals over 12 games with the Dubs. He shot nearly 46 percent overall and 34 percent from deep.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft should flourish for as long as he is wearing a Warriors uniform.

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D'Angelo Russell reveals why he signed with Warriors over T-Wolves

D'Angelo Russell reveals why he signed with Warriors over T-Wolves

D'Angelo Russell could have signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves last summer. But he chose to sign with the Warriors instead (he technically signed with the Brooklyn Nets and then was traded to Golden State).

As you are aware, D-Lo ended up in Minnesota after all when the Dubs shipped him to the T-Wolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins before the NBA trade deadline in early February.

So why didn't he join the T-Wolves initially?

“I remember going through the process and I was like, ‘If I go to Minnesota, I play with Karl- (Anthony Towns) and all the guys who will be there," he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. "I could potentially settle down and relax and unpack my bags.

"But there’s something telling me you gotta go get every bit of money you’re worth right now.”

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
 

The Warriors gave Russell the maximum amount allowed -- a little more than $117.3 million over four years.

Minnesota might have been able to get to the max, but it would have been very hard. As Krawczynski wrote back in July:

The Wolves had to do some salary-cap gymnastics and likely engineer a trade or two to create the space to absorb Russell and a four-year, $117 million contract — either through sign-and-trade that would require nearly $22 million in cuts or with cap space, a much more daunting task that required $33 million in fat-trimming from the current roster.

So you can't blame D-Lo whatsoever for securing the biggest payout possible, especially when he knew there was a chance he would be traded to the T-Wolves down the line.

[RELATED: Report: D-Lo chose Dubs before helicopter ride with Wolves]

Plus, he really did want to team up with Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, absorb knowledge from coach Steve Kerr and possibly make a deep playoff run.

“My whole thing was I’m gonna just learn from these guys,” Russell said. “Even if I don’t get to play with them (very long), I’m going to pick their brain as much as I can.”

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Warriors dynasty is 'unequivocally' over, Nick Wright still believes

Warriors dynasty is 'unequivocally' over, Nick Wright still believes

On his Fox Sports show "First Things First," Nick Wright offers countless opinions and predictions.

After all, that's his job.

So is the Warriors' dynasty over?

"Unfortunately for my friends in the Bay Area, the answer to that is obviously and unequivocally yes," he declared Thursday morning. "I said on this very show -- the day after the Warriors forfeited their one real ability to add another star when they traded D'Angelo Russell in order to get Andrew Wiggins and a pick -- that we would never see Steph Curry in the Finals again.

"And nothing has changed to change my opinion on that. The Warriors had one path forward -- package their top-five pick that's coming this year and D'Angelo Russell this summer for a legitimate impact player. Instead, they took an alternative path, which is trade (Russell) for a far inferior player and get a pick that will never help you during Steph Curry's prime.

"And it's a wrap now."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Wright is entitled to his opinion that Wiggins is a "far inferior player" to D-Lo. But he's clearly being hyperbolic, and there are plenty of people who just flat out disagree. And putting potential trade packages aside, Wiggins is a better positional fit with the Dubs than Russell. That's a fact.

Furthermore, why is Wright downplaying the 2021 top-three protected pick (which becomes unprotected in 2022) Golden State acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves? Apparently the Warriors don't have the option of packaging it with their 2020 presumed top-five pick to acquire the "legitimate impact player" Wright mentioned? Oh wait, they do have that option at their disposal.

Additionally, the Warriors have the ability to significantly improve the roster this offseason by using the taxpayer mid-level exception and the $17.2 million traded player exception.

[RELATED: Draymond sends message to haters, puts pressure on self]

So perhaps Wright should hold off on making any sort of definitive statement until the picture becomes clearer.

Unfortunately, that won't happen because we live in a hot-take world. But he did provide the Warriors with some motivation.

Lastly, it's a win-win for Wright. If he ends up being correct, he can say, 'I told you so.' And if he's wrong, it doesn't matter whatsoever. He will address it, laugh it off and move on to the next topic.

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