NBA Trade Deadline

How Kevin Durant choosing Nets helped Warriors acquire Andrew Wiggins

How Kevin Durant choosing Nets helped Warriors acquire Andrew Wiggins

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."

[RELATED: In D-Lo's debut, Wolves see same player as Warriors did]

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.

NBA rumors: Timberwolves considering waiving ex-Warrior Omari Spellman

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AP

NBA rumors: Timberwolves considering waiving ex-Warrior Omari Spellman

When Omari Spellman was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with D'Angelo Russell and Jacob Evans last week, he took his departure from the Warriors pretty hard. He turned his career around in Golden State, and it wasn't as if he was heading to an obviously improved situation.

Spellman was introduced alongside six other new players to Minnesota in his introductory press conference with the Timberwolves, but that's as close as he has come to wearing a T-Wolves jersey. He was inactive for his first game with his new team and was listed as 'not with team' for Minnesota's game against the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Apparently, that wasn't a clerical error. According to Darren Wolfson of KSTP in Minneapolis, the Timberwolves are in talks with Spellman's representation, with the possibility of waiving him.

Spellman thought highly of the Warriors, and considering the feeling was mutual, could a reunion be in store if he's waived by Minnesota?

The answer is yes, but not immediately.

Due to NBA trade rules, the Warriors would not be able to sign Spellman outright. If he cleared waivers and wasn't signed by any other team -- or at least not signed for longer than the remainder of the current season -- Golden State could then pursue Spellman as a free agent. However, given the Dubs' current salary-cap issues, it's awfully difficult to see an avenue for Spellman to return to the Warriors in the near future, especially considering he has a rather team-friendly contract and hasn't even been waived yet.

[RELATED: Why Draymond believes Wiggins fits so well with Warriors]

If he is eventually waived, though, it would not be surprising whatsoever to see Spellman back with Golden State at some point.

Why Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins fits well with Warriors

Why Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins fits well with Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Last week, the Warriors traded nearly half of their roster in the team's quest back to the NBA Finals. Among the six departures, the exchange of D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins gained much notoriety. 

Before Monday's matchup against Miami Heat, Golden State forward  Draymond Green said that while the transition is tough, he believes the moves benefit his team in the future

"I think he really fits well," Green said of Wiggins. "As seamless as it could possibly be, I think he can fit right in. He can score the basketball, he can run the wings, he's a pretty good defender. So I think he'll definitely fit in with this core for a long time." 

The addition of Wiggins -- who was traded Thursday -- marked the end of Russell's brief tenure in Golden State. In 33 games, Russell averaged 23.6 points, including a 52-point performance in a November loss to the T-Wolves. Nonetheless, Golden State's front office deemed Russell a bad fit alongside injured guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, prompting last week's trade.

On Monday, Green complimented Russell's play, while expressing disappointment in not seeing the partnership with Curry and Thompson.

"I think D'Angelo played great," Green said. "I think when you look long term and you see his style of play, you kind of question if it will fit with Steph and Klay. But the sh--ty part is we never got a chance to see." 

Russell's arrival to the Midwest paired him alongside friend Karl-Anthony Towns following a season-long pursuit by the Wolves. The move is seen by NBA observers as a potential long-term partnership for the duo. 

"I'm happy for D’Angelo," Green continued. "He gets to go to a city that seems as if they're really going to embrace him and that's important. He gets to go to a franchise, they're bringing him in to be their franchise point guard. For a guy that was an All-Star a year ago, signing a new deal, I think that's great and important for him moving forward in his career."

As for Wiggins, the 24-year-old comes to the Bay Area in need of a career makeover. Despite averaging nearly 20 points during his first four years in the NBA, he has been criticized for his defense and effort. But Green believes Golden State's culture will bring the best out of the small forward. 

"I'm not going to sit here and act like the guy's just had a sh--ty career," he said. "He's averaged 20 points per game over the last few years. I think bringing him in the fold and making that equate to wins. That's what we're trying  to do."

While Russell's departure was the highlight of Golden State's trade activity, the team also parted with forward Glenn Robinson III and guard Alec Burks, trading the tandem to the Philadelphia 76ers last week. The team got the news of the trade before last week's loss to Brooklyn, prompting its worst loss of the season. 

[RELATED: Wiggins trade made with Steph Curry in mind, Joe Lacob says]

"It kind of sucked the life out of us," Green said. "Those are two guys that really fit our culture well and have really been playing great all year. ... That's the part of the business that really sucks. It's the human side of things. You build a relationship with guys and one day it's like boom, they're gone."

Regarding the Wiggins-Russell swap, Green believes the moves will benefit both teams. 

"I think this is the perfect situation for [Wiggins]," he said. "I think it's great for both guys and great for both organizations."