After winning their fourth NBA title in eight years, the Warriors’ 2022-23 season hasn’t exactly gone the way they had expected.
And as Thursday’s trade deadline quickly approaches, one question has been hovering over Dub Nation: Will the Warriors make a move at the deadline?
If the answer to that question is yes, the next question would be who? Well, according to a report from The Athletic, the Warriors have “an increased willingness to engage in conversation and explore the idea of moving their younger, out-of-the-rotation players if a significant enough upgrade is offered.”
The only players who fit that category right now are former lottery picks Moses Moody and James Wiseman.
The Athletic's John Hollinger also reported that a Wiseman trade, without receiving anything in return, would actually save Golden State a total of $131 million in salary and tax. Wiseman is owed $9.6 million this year and $12.2 million next year.
If the Warriors -- who paid an NBA-record $170.3 million in the luxury tax last season -- want financial relief, teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz or Indiana Pacers could trade for him without sending anything back, Hollinger added.
That's a lot of money saved for a youngster who hasn't played much this season, or, at all, really, over his three years in the league.
Wiseman's NBA journey has been a rollercoaster with unfortunate twists and turns. He has the potential. He needs the reps. And he’s not getting them with Golden State.
Coach Steve Kerr recently was asked if the Warriors owe it to the 7-foot-1 center to either trade him or give him more playing time as he continues to battle through adversity. Kerr said the question was “fair,” and admit that he had a one-on-conversation with Wiseman and said he felt sorry for him.
General manager Bob Myers said he, too, feels bad for the 21-year-old big man but his situation is "a cutthroat deal."
Despite all the adversity, the former No. 2 overall pick made the most of the four minutes and 41 seconds of playing time he received in the Warriors' blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. He scored six points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting with two boards and zero turnovers.
He'll need to play more than four minutes to showcase his talent, though.
Moody is the other part of the report that makes sense. The young guard, who was sent to the G League two weeks ago for the first time of the season after registering two consecutive DNPs, has slowly fallen out of Kerr’s rotation.
While Kerr said the decision was made to give Moody some reps in Santa Cruz, nothing really changed when he was recalled and joined the Warriors on their short three-game road trip. Since returning from the Warriors’ G League affiliate, Moody has remained on the bench for three of the last five games the Warriors have played.
In 41 games this season, the 20-year-old is averaging 5.0 points on 44.4 percent shooting, 1.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 14.7 minutes.
Jonathan Kuminga is the final piece of the report that halfway fits. He's young, but he has been a recent part of Kerr's rotation, even starting a number of games this season, while taking major leaps toward his immense NBA potential.
While Myers and Kerr said they don't anticipate making a blockbuster move, the franchise's young assets could intrigue a team looking for youthful talent.
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But as we've come to learn, this front office is known for being patient with their young guys. Jordan Poole is a great example of that. Draymond Green doesn't anticipate a big move, either.
“If I’m being honest, it feels like one of those deadlines where everyone is expecting everything to go haywire and not much is going to happen (across the league),” Green told The Athletic. “That’s what I think is going to happen. For me, I’m in this locker room with these guys I play with.
"We’ve never been a team that moves much at the trade deadline. So I’m not going into this deadline expecting some big moves or something. I don’t know. If it happens, it does. But I’ve been here 11 years and I think we’ve made moves two or three times. We haven’t done much.”
The clock is ticking if the Warriors do decide to make a move. Whatever they decide, their ultimate goal will be to defend their latest NBA title and win their fifth championship in nine seasons.