The NBA trade deadline has passed and the Warriors still own the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-three protected pick in the 2021 draft.
Golden State was connected to high-profile trade targets like Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo, while wing player Kelly Oubre Jr. also was featured heavily in trade rumors. But the Warriors ended up just trading away Brad Wanamaker and Marquese Chris while stashing the protected pick for later.
On Friday, Warriors general manager and president of basketball operations Bob Myers said there was a lot of interest in the Timberwolves’ draft pick.
“Any pick in the top 10 is popular,” Myers said in a video conference with reporters. “The hardest thing to find and the most coveted thing is a young player on a rookie contract prior to getting the big max contracts many of these guys get. That was asked about quite often and I think in the way it was asked, you see the value of it. Like you would probably expect.”
This year’s draft is considered to be stacked with talent and the Warriors would love to add another quality young player after selecting center James Wiseman No. 2 overall in 2020. But Minnesota might be playing so bad that Golden State could have to wait until 2022 to get its hands on an extra first-rounder.
If the Timberwolves land in the top three at the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery, they get to keep the pick but their 2022 first-round selection becomes property of the Warriors, unprotected. Otherwise, the 2021 pick belongs to Golden State, meaning the Warriors are hoping Minnesota’s ping-pong ball results in the No. 4 overall pick.
Entering play Friday, Minnesota owns the league’s worst record at 10-34. According to Tankathon, the Warriors have a 59.9 percent chance of getting the No. 4 or No. 5 pick from the T-Wolves if they finish last in the NBA.
Myers said he’s leaving all options on the table heading into the offseason, but cited the number of unknowns before the lottery.
“You gotta be open to anything,” Myers said. “But it would take a lot to part with something like that. You don’t ever say never. We don’t even know if we’ll get it -- I guess we’ll find out at the lottery whenever that date is set. It has value in trade and it has value by itself. But you and I and everybody will know a ton more when we know what it is or if we get it.”
Once the ping pong balls stop bouncing and the draft order is set, Myers and the Warriors’ front office will get a lot more clarity about the entire situation. With the passing of the trade deadline, all eyes are on Minnesota in the standings as the waiting game begins.