The Warriors' acquisition of Andrew Wiggins truly began months before the 2020 NBA trade deadline. This was a snowball slowly rolling to completion.
How? It all goes back to Kevin Durant leaving the Dubs and signing with the Brooklyn Nets last offseason.
"We were hoping it was Brooklyn if [Durant] left," Warriors owner Joe Lacob said to NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa on Monday night during Warriors Pregame Live. "And the reason is that we knew that D'Angelo [Russell] was a possibility in a sign-and-trade. That was really our only possibility of getting something back with Kevin Durant leaving.
"I was really elated -- not to lose Kevin Durant -- I was elated that he went where he went at the time, so that would give us the optionality."
Golden State traded Russell, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday for Wiggins, a 2021 top-three protected first-round draft pick and a 2022 second-round draft pick. Many believed a Russell trade was in the works for the Dubs ever since they acquired him, however, it was a bit of a surprise the Warriors let him go after he played just 33 games with the Dubs.
Why let the former All-Star go now instead of wait until the offseason?
"I can honestly say I thought we were gonna end up waiting until June, before the draft," Lacob admitted. "But that's because we weren't able to get the deal we wanted up to the trade deadline. It didn't really happen until Wednesday night, Thursday morning, when we were able to put together a deal that we liked, which not only included Andrew Wiggins -- a great positional fit for us and a player that we liked all along -- but also the Minnesota first-round pick in 2021.
"We never wanted 2020. We wanted 2021."
That was the key to the deal. While the Warriors clearly like Wiggins and he seems to be a much better fit with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson than Russell, next year's draft is what tipped the scales for Lacob and the rest of the front office.
"We already had a high pick in 2020 and it's not considered the greatest draft," Lacob explained. "But 2021, considered a very good draft. So, that was the key. It wasn't about multiple picks. It was about that pick."
Remember, though, this all goes back to last June. If Durant didn't choose the Nets, the Warriors wouldn't have acquired Russell. And with no Russell, there's no Wiggins.
The latest edition of "what-if" for KD and the Warriors has a former No. 1 overall draft pick wearing a Golden State jersey. Who knows what the future holds now.