Seven players Warriors could add on Andre Iguodala trade exception
Ricky Rubio, PG, Phoenix Suns
2020-21 salary: $17 million
2021-22 salary: $17.8 million
Rubio, 29, signed a three-year contract with the Suns last offseason in free agency, and provided them with a reliable, veteran floor general. He has averaged 13.1 points and 8.9 assists over 57 games this season while posting near career-best shooting percentages from the floor (41.2 percent) and 3-point range (35.1 percent).
Phoenix has nothing in the way of an established point guard behind him on the roster, and the Suns have no reason to just give Rubio away. While the Warriors could acquire him straight up using the exception, they would likely have to include something else to get a trade done.
That said, if the Suns aren't going to contend in the near future -- which, frankly, seems doubtful -- they might not be interested in having a soon-to-be 30-year-old point guard taking up $17-plus million of the cap. If Phoenix shifts back to more of a youth movement, perhaps a swap of first-round draft picks could get it done.
Rubio could play alongside Steph Curry for stretches, and also captain the Warriors' bench unit. He's also a feisty defender, which doesn't hurt.
Evan Fournier, SG, Orlando Magic
2020-21 salary: $17 million (player option)
The Magic have a lot of money tied up in Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Mo Bamba and Terrence Ross, and both Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are scheduled to become restricted free agents after next season. Fournier, 27, plays the same position as Ross, and if he opts into his $17 million player option for next season -- which is likely considering the limited number of teams with cap space -- he might force Orlando's hand.
Fournier is in the midst of a career-best season in which he is averaging 18.8 points per game on 47.0 percent shooting from the field and 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. His 165 made 3-pointers are tied for the 15th-most in the league. He is eight days younger than Damion Lee, two inches taller, far more experienced and simply a considerably superior player.
Fournier would give the Warriors another dependable shooting guard while Klay Thompson eases back into a groove, and would allow Golden State to employ more wing-heavy lineups. You can never have enough shooting.
Dennis Schroder, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
2020-21 salary: $15.5 million
Schroder, 26, definitely can be had. The Thunder currently rank 24th out of the 30 NBA teams in projected 2020-21 cap space according to Spotrac (the Warriors rank 20th), and they have not one, but two superior players at Schroder's position.
Chris Paul isn't going anywhere, not that Oklahoma City would be able to find a taker for that contract. Neither is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is one of the most promising young guards in the league. Danilo Galinari is a pending unrestricted free agent, while center Steven Adams will make over $27 million next season in the final year of his contract. As such, the Thunder are going to have to cut salary somehow, and Schroder is a surplus that they can't really afford.
Schroder has averaged 19.0 points and 4.1 assists in 31.0 minutes per game across 63 contests so far this season, and his shooting percentages are by far the best of his career. He couldn't really play alongside Steph Curry, but would provide the Warriors with someone capable of orchestrating the offense while the two-time MVP is on the bench. Given Schroder isn't owed anything beyond next season, the risk is fairly minimal.
Will Barton, SG, Denver Nuggets
2020-21 salary: $13.92 million
2021-22 salary: $14.88 million (player option)
If you think the Thunder will have to make some tough decisions, just wait for the Nuggets. They have even less projected 2020-21 cap space, and some big expenses coming up.
Jamal Murray just signed a five-year, $170 million extension that goes into effect next season. Standout center Nikola Jokic is locked up for the next three years at big money, and the same goes for Gary Harris for the next two. Paul Millsap is an unrestricted free agent, and Jerami Grant -- whom the Nuggets just traded a first-round draft pick for -- has a player option for $9.3 million before hitting unrestricted free agency the following year.
Barton, 29, is a critical part of Denver's current rotation, but he plays the same position as Harris, and might become prohibitively expensive for the Nuggets moving forward. A thorn in Golden State's side throughout his career, the Warriors surely would prefer playing with him than against him.
Kelly Oubre, SF, Phoenix Suns
2020-21 salary: $14.375 million
From a salary standpoint, Oubre, 24, would fit into the Warriors' massive trade exception. However, one would imagine there would have to have been some stuff going on behind the scenes in order for the Suns to feel motivated to part ways with the young wing.
Oubre has started all but one of the 56 games he has appeared in for Phoenix this season while averaging career-highs in scoring (18.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). The Suns are one of the youngest teams in the league, and not nearly as cash-strapped as most others. As such, it's difficult to see them letting Oubre get away, and with the Warriors having traded for Andrew Wiggins, there wouldn't appear to be a spot for him in Golden State's starting lineup.
Surely, the Warriors would love to acquire a player that possesses Oubre's combination of proven talent and youth. But in order to do so, they'd probably have to sweeten the pot.
Thaddeus Young, PF, Chicago Bulls
2020-21 salary: $13.545 million
2021-22 salary: $14.19 million
The Bulls have a lot of power forwards/centers. Maybe not as many as the New York Knicks, but a lot.
Cristiano Felicio and Luke Kornet will make nearly $10 million combined next season before both hit unrestricted free agency. Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter -- the No. 7 overall picks in the 2017 and 2018 NBA Drafts -- will reach restricted free agency following the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, respectively. Daniel Gafford, Chicago's second round pick in 2019, is on the books for another three seasons. Oh, and then there's Thaddeus Young.
Young, who turns 32 in June, is making more money than all of them, and yet, he's coming off the bench for a 22-43 Chicago squad headed nowhere. He doesn't really fit into the Bulls' present, much less their future, and his talents are being wasted on a non-playoff team.
The Warriors, you'd figure, would be able to acquire Young straight up through the trade exception. The question is, are they comfortable with his 2021-22 salary as well?
Rudy Gay, SF, San Antonio Spurs
2020-21 salary: $14 million
This one is pretty simple: Back in 2011, Steph Curry was asked if there was any one player who he would love to play with. He immediately replied with Rudy Gay's name.
Granted, that was nearly a decade ago, but they are good friends, and Gay has even joined several current and former Warriors at past occasions, including Andre Iguodala's wedding. Might Golden State use the trade exception attained in trading away the groom to acquire the current San Antonio Spur?
Gay, who turns 34 in August, currently is in his 14th NBA season, but will enter the final year of his contract next season. He is averaging the fewest points and minutes per game of his career this season, and thus, San Antonio might be looking for a way to get out from under the final year of his deal.
He might be over the hill and not worth the price. Then again, we've seen other veterans revive their careers after coming over to a contending Warriors squad, and if they do acquire Gay with the trade exception, surely they'll be hoping for something similar.