The Golden State Warriors landed wing Jonathan Kuminga with the seventh pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, taking a chance on a player with some of the highest upside in his class. After showing flashes of impact ability in his first two seasons, Kuminga is seeking a bigger role next season even if it means being traded.
When Golden State drafted Kuminga, it knew the 6-foot-8 forward would need time to develop. It made the Warriors an ideal fit, because he could be eased into action and learn from three future Hall of Famers.
- Jonathan Kuminga stats (2022-’23): 9.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 52.5% FG, 20.8 MPG, .084 WS/48
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In his rookie season, Kuminga bounced around between the back of the Warriors’ rotation and the G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. He started earning more opportunities in Golden State, including in the second round of the playoffs, reaching double figures in Games 3 and 5.
Kuminga looked forward to a more expanded role in his second season and he received it. As a 20-year-old playing for the reigning NBA champions, Kuminga averaged 20.8 minutes per game in the regular season and was a very effective defender. However, the return of Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton Jr resulted in coach Steve Kerr pulling the second-year wing from the rotation once the playoffs arrived.
- Jonathan Kuminga playoff stats (2023): 3.4 PPG, 54.2% FG, 6.1 MPG
Previewing the Warriors’ offseasons, The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater explained that Golden State knows it must adjust its rotation before the 2023-’24 season. It puts Kuminga at a crossroads and if he isn’t promised the role he wants, he’ll want to play elsewhere.
“There’s an acknowledgment from the Warriors’ decision makers that some amount of rotation retooling is needed this summer. That could put Kuminga’s future in question…The Warriors and Kuminga’s representatives are expected to discuss his future this offseason, league sources say. Golden State will need to decide whether Kuminga will receive a full-time role moving forward, and, if not, league sources say the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft will want to be somewhere he can play more.”Shams Charania and Anthony Slater on Jonathan Kuminga’s future with Golden State Warriors
There would be significant interest in Kumnga if he became available this summer. Across 22 games from Feb. 14 – April 9 during the regular season, he averaged 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and shot 56.3 percent from the field and made a strong impact defensively.
He turns 21 in October, meaning he’ll be younger than several players entering the NBA. He’s also under contract through the next two seasons before becoming a restricted free agent in 2025.
Golden State would certainly prefer to keep Kuminga, but the franchise is also committed to building a roster around Stephen Curry that can win another NBA title. If trading Kuminga helps accomplish that, there will be several rebuilding teams around the league interested in a deal.
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