With the NBA trade deadline having just recently passed, it was a surprise to see the Golden State Warriors pretty inactive. Reports leading up to the March 25 deadline suggested that general manager Bob Myers was going to be aggressive. Meanwhile, the team’s ownership group was willing to spend.
Instead, Golden State moved off a struggling Brad Wanamaker and an injured Marquese Chriss in order to create roster space and save a bit of cash. No trade of Kelly Oubre. No move for an impact player like Victor Oladipo. The status quo for a fledgling squad that was 22-22 on the season at the time of the deadline.
Fast forward less than a week, and the Warriors sit at 23-24 and as the 10th seed in the Western Conference. Stephen Curry just returned from his latest injury. Meanwhile, Golden State is looking like nothing more than a bottom-end playoff contender and a team that might have to take part in a play-in tournament.
Here’s three reasons why the usually smart Golden State Warriors dropped the ball at the NBA trade deadline.
Golden State Warriors had a ton of teams interested in Kelly Oubre
Leading up to the deadline, there was seemingly a huge market for this impending free agent. A three-and-D wing, Oubre offers of a ton of upside on both ends of the court. At issue here is his status as an NBA free agent this coming summer and a questionable fit with Andrew Wiggins in Golden State.
“Among the options they (the Nets) explored was sending (Spencer) Dinwiddie to Golden State for Kelly Oubre. Golden State rejected those overtures because it is still desperate to make the playoffs,” Marc Stein of The NY Times noted in his newsletter recently.
Sure Dinwiddie is out for the remainder of the season with a partially torn ACL. He’s also slated to become a free agent. With that said, the Warriors would have held his bird rights and been able to re-sign him without cap room. He also would have been a better fit than Oubre with the Warriors. Heck, if the two sides could not have come to terms on a new contract, Dinwiddie would’ve offered more in a sign-and-trade than Oubre.
That’s just one of numerous examples. We know Dinwiddie wouldn’t have helped moving forward this season. We also know it’s another year of transition in San Francisco with Klay Thompson once again sidelined. Bob Myers and Co. should have thought larger picture.
The actual goal this season is making the playoffs?
Really? A team that’s just recently coming off five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and boasts a transcendent talent in Stephen Curry illogically thinking that this season really matters in the grand scheme of things? Let’s say the Warriors earn a trip to the play-in tournament and come out on top. In their current iteration, Steve Kerr’s squad would stand absolutely no chance against the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns or either of the Los Angeles-based teams in the first round.
In large part due to stealth-like drafting (Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green), the Warriors built themselves into the envy of the NBA. Once they added Kevin Durant to the mix, it was game over for the rest of the Association. Did Durant’s departure to the Big Apple really change the front office’s thought process this much?
We’re not talking about the “We Believe” teams of eons ago. The Warriors are a valuable entity. The San Francisco Bay Area is a prime location for star players. The newly-minted Chase Center is one of the best venues in the NBA. Why give up long-term options to go all in during what will ultimately be a lost season?
The Golden State Warriors better have some big plans for NBA offseason
That leads us to our final point. Bob Myers and Steve Kerr should, to an extent, be giving the benefit of the doubt. Golden State has assets to pull off a blockbuster move this summer.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-three protected pick in 2021 is one of the top assets in the league right now. It has a 50% chance of conveying in 2021 and is unprotected next year. Perhaps, the Warriors wanted to see how that plays out before moving it. Heck, there’s a chance someone like Bradley Beal becomes available.
Add in rookie No. 2 pick James Wiseman, stud young guard Jordan Poole and the Warriors’ own 2021 first-round pick, and there’s a lot to like about the possibility that Golden State could make a major move during the NBA offseason.
With that said, there’s a chance these Warriors opt not to make that blockbuster move. Instead, they add two first-round picks to the mix with a returning Klay Thompson while somehow retaining Kelly Oubre in free agency. Sure that’s a top-five seed out West. It’s still not a championship-caliber roster.
Golden State could have created more flexibility at the NBA trade deadline while showing Curry that the team is in it to be championship contenders as he enters the latter years of his prime. Instead, everything will be up in the air as the three-time championship point guard enters his final offseason before hitting free agency.
That’s not an ideal scenario.