Warriors

How CP3 to Suns could impact Warriors' trade exception

Warriors

When the Warriors traded Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies in July 2019, they created a huge $17.2 million trade exception in the process.

The basketball world has had many months to speculate who Golden State might target, with Kelly Oubre and Ricky Rubio being two names mentioned quite a bit.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday morning that both players are being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a package that will send Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns.

The Athletic's Anthony Slater shortly thereafter reacted on Twitter.

But there are two main reasons yours truly isn't so sure the organizations will strike a deal.

One, it seems highly unlikely that Thunder general manager Sam Presti will "salary dump" Oubre or Rubio. He is going to want a legitimate asset in exchange, and the assumption here is the Warriors won't be willing to meet the asking price.

And two, even though both players fit into the exception, they are scheduled to make a lot of money. Oubre will earn $14.4 million in 2020-21 before becoming an unrestricted free agent. Rubio, meanwhile, has two years left on his contract -- $17 million this season and $17.8 million in 2021-22.

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The good news is the NBA last week announced that teams' luxury tax payments will be reduced if overall basketball-related income decreases as a result of pandemic restrictions. That's a nice insurance policy to have.

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The bad news is that adding either Oubre or Rubio still will add tens of millions to their tax bill. Will owner Joe Lacob consider either player worth it?

"One thing I've learned with Joe is you never say no, you never say never," coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami in early October. "Joe is so competitive and constantly is putting his money where his mouth is because he wants to win so badly. And he knows that we're in the midst of a run that can continue. So I don't put anything past Joe.

"I just think that realistically, we've lost so much revenue and we aren't guaranteed anything next year, it's hard to come out and say, 'Yeah, we're gonna use that thing.' It would probably have to be something really special."

The exception will disappear Nov. 23 if the Warriors do not execute a trade before then.

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