Fresh off their second consecutive non-playoff season, the Golden State Warriors have the seventh and 14th picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. Previously, rumors suggested that Golden State could use these picks as a way to be aggressive in upgrading its roster behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
We’re now getting some specifics from John Hollinger of The Athletic. The NBA insider reported recently that those around the league believe Golden State will use the seventh pick and former No. 2 overall selection James Wiseman and bait in a blockbuster trade. The name that keeps popping up? Toronto Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam.
“There is a widespread expectation that the Warriors will use No. 7 and Wiseman, in particular, to seek more immediate upgrades to the roster. One name to watch: Pascal Siakam,” Hollinger reports.
Following their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in-tournament, the Golden State Warriors’ brass has consistently pushed back against the idea that they are going to trade Wiseman.
The No. 2 pick last year, Wiseman averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds on 52% shooting in 39 games as a rookie before suffering a season-ending meniscus injury in his right knee. He’s still only 20-year-old with a ton of untapped potential.
For the Warriors, there’s been a lot of suggestions that they are going to be active this summer as a way to take advantage of the back-end of Stephen Curry’s prime. The 33-year-old two-time NBA MVP was a finalist for the award this past season, averaging 32.0 points on 42% shooting from distance. Some are working under the belief that Golden State owes it to Curry to make a win-now move. Using its two lottery picks would run contrary to this.
With all of that said, finances are going to be a bit problematic for the Golden State Warriors. Their ownership group is willing to spend well into the luxury tax once again. They are also intent on signing Curry to a record-breaking extension this summer. That’s not the issue. Rather, it’s the NBA salary cap.
Any move to bring in another star would require Golden State moving off three-time NBA champion Draymond Green or a vastly improved Andrew Wiggins, who performed extremely well in his first season in the Bay Area. That’s where a potential trade for Siakam becomes a bit more convoluted.
How can the Golden State Warriors pull off a Pascal Siakam trade?
It would start with Canada native Andrew Wiggins heading back to his home country as the financial centerpiece in the deal. Add in James Wiseman and the seventh pick, and this could be a good starting-off point to get the Raptors interested. Obviously, there’d be more moving parts headed to Toronto.
Siakam, 27, is averaging 22.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 45% shooting from the field since the start of the 2019-20 season. He’s also recovering from a torn labrum and is not expected to be back for the start of next season. That complicates things for Golden State given that it is not expecting Thompson to return from his Achilles injury until after the campaign starts.
It’s also important to note that Siakam is more of a traditional power forward than a three. That’s a position filled by the aforementioned Green.
In no way does this mean Siakam isn’t a fit in Golden State. Green has had a ton of success playing small-ball center in the Warriors’ lineup. If they can withstand Siakam and Thompson being out early in the season, a core four of Curry, Thompson, Siakam and Green is darn nice.
But this is always a two-way street. Toronto is coming off a disastrous 27-45 season and boasts the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Barring a trade down, it will be able to pick up one of the top-four consensus players in the annual event. Assuming Cade Cunningham goes No. 1 to the Detroit Pistons, the Raptors would be able to draft one of Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs.
The idea of moving off Siakam would be for the Raptors to add a talented center in Wiseman and another potential cornerstone with the seventh pick. Bringing in Wiggins’ ability on both ends of the court (18.6 points per game, 48% shooting in 2020-21) would just be icing on the cake. Whether this means a blockbuster trade with the Golden State Warriors is in the cards remains to be seen.