The Warriors have a real champagne problem.
After its victory in the NBA Finals and its champagne shower in Boston, Golden State finds itself faced with an enviable dilemma: they have too many good players.
The team’s “two-delay” plan worked. The old ones mixed with the young ones and created a champion team.
And now everyone wants to get paid.
This is where trouble comes in for the Warriors.
Draymond Green is eligible for an extension on Thursday. He wants everything he can earn under the league’s collective agreement — $164 million — and he deserves it.
Andrew Wiggins also owes a new contract, at around $40 million a year. He deserves it too.
Jordan Poole is also eligible for a massive pay rise. This agreement will amount to more than 100 million dollars. It’s just.
The Warriors are printing money with Chase Center, but all of those extensions, plus the luxury tax on top, would quickly find the team’s payroll cap.
Winning now and later is expensive.
The Warriors can try to thread the needle — they can test fate and try to offload Poole or Wiggins or even Green — or they can fix the here-and-now by committing to a timeline and trading for Kevin Durant.
The Warriors floated the idea of trading for Durant when the soon-to-be 34-year-old former Dub submitted his trade request to the Brooklyn Nets a month ago. All NBA teams have done it.
But although Durant is one of the best players in the NBA, there is no momentum behind him on the business front. There is occasional interest, but the odds are increasing that there will be a Net at least for the start of the season.
Of course, I understand why the Warriors want to stick with the formula that won them the title. It was a big bold experiment and it worked!
But either Warriors ownership is getting more and more comfortable with the big, fancy tax checks it sends to the league office, or it’s committing to a single schedule. There is no in-between here.
Despite some trade fervor surrounding Durant in the days following his request, no one was able or willing to meet the Nets’ trade demands.
I think the Warriors can.
The Dubs have always had the best trade package possible for Durant. That hasn’t changed in the past month – it’s just become clearer how difficult it will be to keep the two Warriors timelines together.
But if the Dubs leave their “middle class” – Poole and Wiggins – and one of their super young players – say, Jonathan Kuminga or James Wiseman – the Warriors can maintain (if not extend) their championship window in the present while keeping it open in the post-Curry future, which could be more than half a decade away.
Yes, the Warriors would give the Nets a young star in Poole, the best two-way wing in the last NBA Finals, and a big man who still holds immense promise at 21, but they would effectively cut the payroll. Poole and Wiggins will undoubtedly earn more than $60 million per year, combined, under their new contracts. Durant has four years left on a $194 million extension — his last big deal.
The trade would also require a few first-round picks, but I can’t imagine it would take too many. Plus, who cares about first-round picks when the Super Villains are back together?
Whatever oddness there was at the end of Durant’s time in Oakland, it no longer seems associated with Warriors players. His beef with the media — myself included — is over the top, especially in an NBA where access is much more limited. And while I hear most fans say “we don’t want him back,” I’m sure that position would instantly melt if Durant wore No. 35 for the Warriors again.
Now, I don’t know if Golden State would be Durant’s preferred destination — apparently it’s Phoenix — but I guess he wouldn’t veto a trade to Basketball Nirvana, even if he carries the demerit that I hang around him sometimes.
It could work well.
With his trade request, Durant was brave enough to admit he made a mistake going to Brooklyn. Good for him no matter where he goes.
I wish this destination was Golden State. He can solve the Warriors two timelines problem and augment a legacy that seemed unfinished when he left.
I think that path is better than guessing which of the Warriors’ best players should be skimped or dispatched. Once you reach this point, you effectively lower your title chances.
Yes, a calendar is the way to go. The Warriors should dominate the present and trust their now proven ability to identify, draft and develop young players. They’ve built an impressive young core before – they can do it again.
And in the meantime, the most impressive four-man roster in NBA history – albeit a bit older than in its prime – will be back in the arena originally built for them.
#Kurtenbach #Warriors #problem #Trading #Kevin #Durant #solve #problem
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