Three trades to put Golden State back into finals contention
Set small text size
Set the default text size
Set large text size
For many fans across the NBA the Golden State dynasty is over – unless you’re a Warriors fan.
Any Golden State diehard will tell you that so long as Stephen Curry is able to shoot, the Warriors can win a title.
But as much fun as the 2015-18 Dubs were to watch, they don’t currently have a roster that can make it deep into the playoffs, let alone the NBA finals – not without Klay Thompson. And even with him back they still need another first unit-quality player to help carry the team when Curry has an off night and when Draymond Green is ejected.
Simply put, the Warriors are currently at least one star player away from being a serious challenger to NBA powerhouses like LeBron James and Anthony Davis’s Lakers or the Brooklyn and their big three.
So here are three potential trades that could put the Warriors back into finals contention in the next two years.
1. Philly 76ers trade Ben Simmons for Kelly Oubre Jr, Damion Lee and an unprotected first-round pick in 2022This trade sits in a ‘hard’ category. Simmons is widely regarded for his consistent ability to play a triple-double stat line. However, he can’t shoot or he chooses not to shoot. While for the first time ever this isn’t causing too much trouble this season, for the past four years it has hurt his ability to play alongside Joel Embiid, who loves to dominate the paint.
Sixers fans have been told to trust the process, but surely by now the front office can see that Embiid and Simmons don’t work in the locker room. Unless something changes drastically, it’s hard to see both of them meeting their full potential together.
A trade like this to the Warriors fixes the dynamics issue. Warriors may need to put another pick on the table to sweeten the deal. It also gives the Sixers some more good second-unit players. Damion Lee gets limited minutes at Golden State and could very well slot into a similar role and still produce some good buckets. Oubre Jr can give some good production and with his size can make up a little of the height loss by offloading Simmons.
The Warriors would throw themselves back into finals contention, and Simmons would be able to play power forward and run the offence, kicking out to Klay and Steph and not being required to shoot.
Ben Simmons (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
2. Cleveland Cavaliers trade Kevin Love for Kevon Looney and an unprotected first-round pick in 2022This trade seems completely unlikely, and for the most part it’s been included because everyone would love to see Kevin Love get another ring.
The Cavs are an average team. They’re not really going anywhere fast. Kevin Love is a little behind his best, but throw him into the Golden State locker room and you could potentially see his career come alive again.
The Warriors are known for being a successful team that have not had a dominant centre for a long time – certainly never in this Splash Brothers era anyway. Enter Kevin Love, a strong power forward-centre who has a reasonable basketball IQ. Imagine Curry’s incredible passing to Love in the paint.
The Cavs would get an average power forward back but better get an unprotected 2022 first-round pick via the Timberwolves, who are woeful at the moment, so that pick is pretty handy. Overall it’s not a huge trade, but we’ve seen the Warriors do more with less.
As an aside, a trade for Steven Adams could work too. Which bring us to our third option, the big one.
3. Milwaukee Bulks trade Giannis Antetokounmpo for Kelly Oubre Jr, Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman and four first-round picksLast year we saw Antetokounmpo re-sign, but don’t read into it – players re-sign and trade all the time. It’s a given that signing a new contract gives his current team better bargaining power at the trade table.
We’ve seen Curry do this before, bringing in another MVP-calibre player in the likes of Kevin Durant, but this trade offers so much more for the Warriors.
Antetokounmpo would fix all of Golden State’s current woes while also adding a two-time MVP to the roster. Say no more.
But why would the Bucks agree to it? Well, they are currently floundering, and it is hard to see them winning rings even with Antetokounmpo on the roster. The Bucks need a clean slate, and if this trade goes through they would end up with Wiggins in career-best shape, and fingers crossed that continues; Oubre Jr, who once out of this shooting slump can produce some quality offence; and James Wiseman, who has the potential to be a top-ten player in the league at centre given enough time and development.
The issue then comes down to the Dubs being able to source enough first-round picks to entice the Bucks to consider giving up Antetokounmpo. This is the hard part, and it would need to be worked through, but the potential is there – look no further than the Brooklyn-Houston trade for James Harden. Certainly some creative trading would need to take place.
I would love to hear what NBA trades you want to see to lift the Warriors back into NBA finals contention. Leave a comment below.