The Golden State Warriors have a ton of assets this summer to add a star player to the mix. Whether that happens depends heavily on how the trade market plays out and whether true stars become available.
Obviously, most of the recent talk has surrounded Portland Trail Blazers All-Star and future Hall of Famer Damian Lillard.
There’s been rumors suggesting that Lillard might want out of dodge following a fourth first-round playoff exit and five years and fresh off the heels of a drama-filled process to find a new head coach.
While the soon-to-be 31-year-old Lillard has attempted to quiet these rumors over the past week or so, we’re still going to hear him linked to the Warriors and pretty much every other team out there.
According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Golden State has already had internal discussions about acquiring Lillard in a trade with the conference-rival Blazers.
This link makes sense given that Lillard grew up in the Golden State Warriors host city of Oakland and attended a ton of games at the now-defunct Oracle Arena.
In terms of a practical fit, I am not too sure whether this actually makes sense for both sides. As Slater points out in his report, adding Lillard to the mix would create the best shooting trio in the history of the NBA with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson returning next season. It would also create a tremendous amount of issues on the defensive end of the court and a reliance on Thompson to continue playing well in that regard after missing the past two seasons to injury.
From Lillard’s perspective, he has in the past pushed back against forming a super team outside of Portland. Teaming up with a trio of three-time champions in Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green would be doing just that. It’s also important to note that while San Francisco is in the Bay Area, Lillard would not be playing in his home city after the Warriors relocated from Oakland ahead of the 2019-20 season.
What could the Golden State Warriors offer up for Damian Lillard?
As I noted above, general manager Bob Myers and Co. have the assets to pull off a trade of this ilk. While other lesser teams could offer more, it stands to reason that Dame would want to join a legit contender. That’s where Golden State comes into play.
Any offer would start with the Warriors’ two first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft (7th and 14th overall). From there, Golden State would have to offer up 2020 No. 2 pick James Wiseman as well as multiple future first-round picks and swaps.
Already facing a huge luxury tax bill, the Golden State Warriors’ brass is still willing to spend. Even then, there’s this thing called the NBA salary cap.
That would require a vastly improved three-and-D wing in Andrew Wiggins heading to Portland in this hypothetical trade scenario. Heck, the Blazers might also demand another recent first-round pick in sharpshooting guard Jordan Poole.
Regardless, it’s not a surprise that the Warriors have kicked the tires internally on acquiring Lillard. Most teams around the NBA are in the same boat.
It’s also important to note that Golden State’s brass is under pressure to field a legitimate contender next season after the performance we saw from Curry in 2020-21 and with the two-time MVP set to hit free agency next summer.
Even then, a ton of components would have to take hold in order for a blockbuster of this ilk to happen. It remains a highly unlikely scenario.