The clock is ticking on the Warriors’ decisions surrounding the future of their roster.
Golden State’s mission to defend its 2022 NBA championship hasn’t quite taken off. The team sits just one game above .500 and is in eighth place in a crowded Western Conference 53 games into the season.
Not to mention star guard Steph Curry is expected to miss at least the team’s next five games and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
It might not be time to panic just yet, but the Warriors clearly need help as the trade deadline -- set for 12 p.m. PT Thursday -- approaches quickly.
Golden State isn’t anticipated to make a blockbuster move, but the franchise holds a few young assets in former lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman that could intrigue a team looking for youthful talent.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo outlined one potential route they want the Warriors to avoid.
“I’d be very scared to trade Kuminga, just for the record,” Simmons said on his podcast, released Monday. “Wiseman and Moody, I would seriously consider. But it’s too early with Kuminga.
“He has moments where you go, ‘This is a come-back-to-haunt-you kind of talent.'"
Kuminga has played sparingly at times this season but recently has earned his way back into coach Steve Kerr’s rotation. Over the last eight games, Kuminga is averaging 12.8 points while shooting 60 percent from the field, scoring in double figures seven times in that span.
“Kuminga still has nights where I think it’s too early to give up on him,” Russillo said.
Wiseman, on the other hand, has played in just 20 games this season and 59 across his career. He has been a DNP (Did Not Play) in five of six games since recovering from an ankle injury and being cleared to play on Jan. 24.
The 7-foot center is due $12.1 million next season after the Warriors picked up his fourth-year option in October.
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“Wiseman tries, but he’s like a linebacker that’s a rookie who is thinking the whole time and is late to the hole,” Russillo said. “The tax hit with [Wiseman] for next year’s number is massive for someone who is still a big question mark."
Still, though, Wiseman is just 21 years old. He has shown flashes of star potential over his up-and-down career, the main reason why the Warriors selected him No. 2 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. Wiseman's ceiling still is high enough for another team to consider him the main piece of a potential non-blockbuster trade with Golden State.
At this point, Kuminga's trade value likely exceeds what the Warriors would expect in return for Wiseman.