All is right with the Golden State Warriors’ world at the moment, which is an incredible thing to say considering what the team has been through in recent years. From Kevin Durant’s departure to Klay Thompson’s 2.5-year struggle to get back on the court, the James Wiseman saga and beyond… it has been a lot.
Things could get hairy again over the next couple of years, though, as team president Bob Myers and his brain trust search for a way to keep it all together.
Figuring out the Andrew Wiggins/Jordan Poole situation will be a chore in and of itself. When one considers that Golden State will also have to craft new deals/extensions for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and, later, Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the situation becomes particularly daunting given the club’s repeater tax status.
Of the aforementioned, Green’s future payout may just be the most difficult to parse out. After all, he’ll be 33 during his player option year of 2023-24, and despite that — as well as the fact that he’s not a top scoring option — he’s seeking max money from the Dubs once again.
From where we sit, the Warriors’ best play may just be to get out in front of the problem and trade Green for a player they can keep for longer/cheaper. Here’s one deal accomplishing just that.
Draymond Goes to Denver
To be clear, this trade pitch shouldn’t be taken as a negative commentary on what Green brings to the table. He remains a generational defender with elite awareness and playmaking ability on the other side of the court to boot.
That said, paying him the $30-plus million annually he seeks over the course of an extension that would take him to age 37 is probably a bridge too far.
So, as opposed to going down that particular road, we’re pitching this trade:
- Denver Nuggets receive PF Draymond Green, a lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick (via CHA)
- Golden State Warriors receive F Aaron Gordon and F/C Zeke Nnaji
Gordon’s best attributes for our purposes here are his age at just 26 and the fact that he’s locked into a team-friendly deal that he can’t opt out of until 2025. As a result, the Dubs would save a few million in raw salary — and many more millions in tax penalties — next season alone.
Meanwhile, the former No. 4 overall pick figures to be a nice match for the Warriors’ current core on both ends of the court. Last season, he averaged 15.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest while shooting 34% from deep.
Best of all, Gordon has game enough to integrate with the Warriors’ championship core while still being young enough to do the same with the team’s incredible up-and-comers.
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Why the nuggets do it
For the Nuggets, the time is night to get the Nikola Jokic-Jamal Murray-MPJ core to the contender’s table lest the team go the way of the Utah Jazz. Even if they can get all of their players healthy, though, it’s difficult to see Denver getting to the promised land after it ranked just 15th defensively last season (with a D-rating of 111.5).
Green’s incredible pliability on the defensive end in tandem with the team’s acquisition of lockdown ace Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, could elevate the Nuggets to the upper crust of NBA defenses. Meanwhile, Green’s playmaking on the other end would keep Denver in a nice spot on the other end.
And while the Nuggets have cap constraints of their own, they’re in a better position to extend Green if the all-in play works. Or, they could simply let the baller play out next season, opt in for 2023-24, then go get his best deal.
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