Many Warriors fans are hoping the front office uses one or both of the organization’s 2021 first-round draft picks to acquire a veteran star, but what could the team fetch for their current haul of selections?
Looking at the history of what teams have been able to bring in for a No. 7 or No. 14 overall draft pick, it has been a mixed bag.
The most recent and famous example to consider came back in 2017 on draft night, when the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves made a swap that involved then-rising NBA star Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls traded Butler and the No. 16 overall pick to the T-Wolves for two young players on rookie contracts, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, along with the rights to the No. 7 overall pick.
LaVine was far from the rising star he is today when this trade was executed, and had torn his ACL the previous February. Dunn was a highly touted young guard but had struggled to earn consistent playing time in a below-average Minnesota rotation.
On the other side of the deal, Butler had two years remaining on a team-friendly five-year, $92 million contract and was coming off his third consecutive NBA All-Star appearance.
In what is far from a perfect comparison, the T-Wolves’ package could be replicated by the Warriors with James Wiseman (also had a midseason knee injury) and Eric Paschall (Paschall also found a tough time earning minutes last season after a strong rookie campaign).
If the Warriors paired those two young players with the seventh overall draft pick, what could they fetch from another team? Golden State’s precarious cap situation means they’ll have to match any money coming in by shipping out salary. Andrew Wiggins would be the name most likely to fit that bill as a salary match for a star, as he’ll be set to earn $31.5 million in 2021-22.
Ben Simmons is a name that continues to be linked to the Warriors as a potential trade partner, and he is due $33 million for next season. Simmons does have four years remaining on his bloated max contract, with the former No. 1 pick set to earn $40 million in the final year of the deal.
Bradley Beal is another rumored target, but the Washington Wizards have remained steadfast that they would like to build around the shooting guard and re-sign him to a max contract extension.
LaVine also has been rumored as a trade target, but is entering the final year of a four-year, $78 million contract and would be able to command a significantly larger amount of money if he stayed in Chicago.
Outside of the Butler trade, there unfortunately aren’t many deals that could provide context as to what the seventh and fourteenth overall picks would be worth on the trade market.
There are a number of trades involving one of or both the seventh and 14th overall picks, but they either simply were for other draft picks in the same year or were part of a deal that didn't include any significant players moving teams.
The Warriors probably would be offering Wiggins or a Kelly Oubre sign-and-trade along with the two first-round draft picks in any trade proposal for a star. What that is worth likely depends on the team and who the Warriors would be pursuing.
Luckily for the Warriors, the 2021 draft class is being touted as one of the best in recent memory, especially near the top end of the first round.
As draft night draws closer, however, there is potential for the Warriors to realize that they won’t be able to get the kind of impact player many around the Bay Area are hoping for, and instead opt to hang onto cheap rookie contracts.
The best-case scenario for winning a championship in 2021-22 is adding another star, but the Warriors’ front office will have to get creative in order to pull that off with the team’s current haul of picks and young talent.
But it is the NBA offseason after all, so just about anything could happen.