Warriors GM Bob Myers reiterates team will 'consider' trading first-round pick, and the options are plentiful
The Warriors find themselves in an interesting, and enviable, draft position
The Golden State Warriors don't yet know if their 2019-20 season is over. On Wednesday, reports surfaced that the possibility of the NBA resuming action at a single site -- -- is gaining steam, and it is not yet clear whether than would include non-playoff teams like the Warriors finishing at least a portion of their remaining regular-season schedule, or if the league would move straight into postseason action.
Either way, that is not Golden State's focus.
Right now, it's all about the 2020 NBA Draft.
Whenever the draft winds up being held, the Warriors will be in a unique spot as a team with title aspirations and a likely top-five pick. Prior to the hiatus, the Warriors had the worst record in the league. Depending on how, or if, regular-season games resume, Golden State could well go into the lottery with the best odds possible -- 14 percent -- to land the No. 1 overall selection.
What to do with that pick -- keep it or trade it -- is president of basketball operations Bob Myers' top priority right now, and the factors involved remain fluid. What kind of deal is there to be had? Where, exactly, will Golden State's pick fall? If it's No. 1, that might mean one thing. If it's No. 5, that might mean something else. How might Golden State's $17.1 million trade exception fit into their thinking? And where might Minnesota's 2021 first-round pick, which belongs to the Warriors after the D'Angelo Russell trade, figure into a potential marquee-package deal?
"Yeah, we're going to consider all that," Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Now, I don't know if the headline is going to be that we're trading our pick. So, be clear that I said 'consider.'"
It's not some big revelation that Golden State is "considering" trading its first-round pick. Every team considers everything. Again, what makes this such a pivotal decision, not just for the Warriors but for the league as a whole, is the potentially significant short- and long-term implications.
If the Warriors were able to bundle all their assets to trade for, say, a Bradley Beal or the rough equivalent, or in a total long shot, perhaps a Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid if the Sixers get itchy to move on from their ill-fitting duo, they might well catapult back to the top of the championship favorites. If that's unrealistic, perhaps a player like Orlando's Aaron Gordon could be had for a lesser package, maybe as part of a creative deal utilizing the aforementioned trade exception.
These names of potential targets are, of course, just examples. The point is, the Warriors could go true big-game hunting, or they could split the difference with their future picks and try to bring in a young, athletic player to fit as a third or fourth option alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In either of those scenarios, they're at least a fringe title contender next season.
But how far beyond next season are the Warriors looking? Think about the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, when they traded the top overall pick, which wound up being Andrew Wiggins, to the Wolves for Kevin Love, because they knew LeBron James was coming back and putting a title contender on the floor right away became the priority. The Cavs got their title, in 2016 against the Warriors, and now they're stuck with Love's huge four-year contract they can't get rid of. (To be fair, Cleveland didn't need to extend Love's deal after LeBron left).
Nevertheless, this is the rub of mortgaging the future. The bill comes due, and the cupboard can get pretty bare pretty quickly. The Warriors could, in a sense, have their cake and eat it too by using their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks, and adding another piece with their trade exception, which would keep a fringe title contender on the floor right now while also setting their table with two foundational pieces to fortify the post-Curry-Thompson-Draymond Green era.
Which begs the question: Are there any true franchise players available in this draft? Scouts who've spoken with CBS Sports say no. LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are at, or near, the top of just about everyone's board, but both players have a bit of a boom-or-bust feel. The Warriors could play it safe, perhaps trade down with a team like the Knicks, who would be in line for the sixth overall selection if current lottery odds held.
The Knicks are desperate for star power and would likely love to get their hands on Ball, and the Warriors could add another future first-round pick. There are other teams with which a trade-down scenario might make sense, which in turn would give the Warriors even more draft ammo with which to go big-game hunting. Or it's just another first-round pick, likely a lottery one, for a team that has been completely devoid of high-leverage picks throughout its five-year Finals run.
This feels a bit like standing in the cereal aisle. Options are great, but too many of them can make for a difficult decision. Golden State is in an enviable position, but it still has to pull the right lever to successfully unlock its most optimal short- and long-term futures.
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