The ending felt very reminiscent of the future-champion Dallas beating the defending champ Lakers in the 2nd round of 2011. It wasn’t quite to that level but it was a defining loss and the better team is advancing. That loss for the Lakers in 2011 was the beginning of the end. They made some moves but it was only downhill with many years in the wilderness.
This version of the Lakers is a much better team than their seeding would indicate. For a true championship-caliber of team though it’s still not acceptable to lose as uncompetitively as the Warriors did in the elimination game. The Lakers may have the best duo in the NBA and upgraded what was around them at the trade deadline. They are a legitimate championship contender with championship experience but if they win will be one of the weaker champions. To go out in 6 games isn’t embarrassing itself, but you would have certainly liked to see a better showing in an elimination game.
This Warriors team is already the most expensive team in the NBA, and will need to make some hard choices this off-season as to what direction they go and how they choose to push forward. Ownership has indicated they aren’t willing to go over a certain level especially if they aren’t contending and the new CBA makes that choice even easier. Should the Warriors choose to re-sign Green and/or DiVincenzo without making additional modifications to their roster, their payroll would exceed the second apron threshold, thereby rendering them ineligible to use the taxpayer mid-level exception.
Draymond Green can opt out and will certainly want to extend, Bob Myers can walk. Klay Thompson is up for an extension coming off a terrible series and at age 33. Jordan Poole just got a fresh extension and was unplayable. There are lots of questions about this roster. I don’t think they can just run it back and hope for better shooting from Klay Thompson, not as the big 3 continue to age.
The Good News
Despite turning 35 years old, Steph Curry remains one of the best players in the NBA. Whatever the future is it certainly includes Steph Curry and trying to put a team around him to compete in his last few good seasons. He is under contract until 2026 and the way he plays I believe he will be able to retain much of his value and age gracefully.
It was nice to see one of the young guys take a step in the playoffs. He became a trusted member of the Lakers series for a few minutes each game. 16 minutes a game while Jordan Poole only played 20. Moody was very solid making 8-11 three-point shots in the series. The Warriors most need Jonathan Kuminga to join him in the rotation.
|Gary Payton II||30||$8,300,000||$8,715,000||$9,130,000||$17,015,000|
|Patrick Baldwin Jr.||20||$2,226,000||$2,337,720||$2,448,840||$4,420,156||$4,563,720|
All the important players are under contract for next season. Only Draymond could opt out, which I would expect he would do if he’s not extended. Klay Thompson can’t opt out but would likely be looking to extend. It’s unclear what their markets are but I do believe if you offered 25 million extensions a year to both that is a fair offer given their age and with the salary cap going up. Particularly this season there really aren’t a lot of teams with cap space that would probably value Draymond Green. I think the 25 million might be enough to get it done. For Klay Thompson I would offer between 20-25 after these playoffs.
Poole is the player that is most likely to still have value around the league to some teams after averaging 20.4ppg, 4.5apg on .573 true shooting. I think for this reason he is the one that needs to be moved. He was pretty much useless in the playoffs, and while you could bring him back and hope he improves or gets back to 2022 playoff form, his relationship with Draymond Green complicates that path.
That was just a couple of weeks ago.
You probably won’t get the equivalent value after these playoffs, but on this team, I think just having another playable veteran would be more helpful in the playoffs. The regular season is where it gets a little more dicey with Steph Curry usually missing his standard time. Jordan Poole is valuable at keeping the Warriors afloat in those games. I think it’s probably just best to move on regardless.
During last year’s championship campaign, Poole had a remarkable performance, averaging 17.0 points per game while shooting an impressive 50.8 percent overall and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. However, this year, his numbers plummeted significantly to only 10.5 points per game on 34.2 percent shooting overall and 27.8 percent from long range. Despite starting in Games 3 through 6 against the Kings, his playing time decreased during the games against the Lakers, culminating in a 10-minute absence during their narrow Game 4 defeat.
The Warriors still own their on 1st round pick this season and could trade it after making a pick on draft night, and you could package it with Jordan Poole. There aren’t the greatest options even out there with salaries high enough to match.
These are the names that would likely be moveable at Jordan Poole’s price point.
|Gary Trent Jr||$17,280,000||$18,560,000||$0||$0|
Who I’m Calling
Many on this list do not make sense for Golden State or the team they are under contract with. Some would need to add additional salary as well.
The Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets would be my first call. They have a plethora of useful parts. The target would be Dorian Finney-Smith and one of Joe Harris or Spencer Dinwiddie and the money works. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Warriors have the juice. Poole and the 1st rounder are unlikely to get that done but that is the call you make 1st in my opinion. The way you would have to try to sell it is that all three are over 30 years old and that Poole would fit more with Mikal Bridges timeline. That’s still a hard sell and they probably could get multiple draft picks for 2 of those three players. I’d put the odds at less than 50%.
Buddy Heild and Daniel Theis
Someone like Buddy Heild might be the most ideal. He’s 30 years old and for the Indiana Pacers Jordan Poole would fit more on their timeline with Tyrese Haliburton. You’d need some more salary so maybe if you took on Daniel Theis that’s a trade that would make sense for both without even having to include the pick. I’d push for Chris Durate first though. That would be my 2nd call. I think this trade would have a much better chance of happening. With the first-round pick and Theis’s salary, you might be able to turn that roster spot into something more valuable as well.
Bojan Bogdanović and Alec Burks
My 3rd call would probably be to the Detroit Pistons for Bojan Bogdanović and Alec Burks. That trade also makes a lot of sense. The depth would keep you in good shape in the regular season and both players could help more in the playoffs and insulate some from a 2nd tier injury. Unless the Pistons just don’t want Jordan Poole I think this trade would make the most sense for both franchises. The Pistons had a high asking price at the deadline, but I don’t think you’d need to put in any picks. It’s fair for both. Burks also has a team option, so they could bring him back or save some salary as well. Given the cost of this team declining the option would likely be the best course.
Earlier in the season after Draymond Green punched Poole I thought it might be time to move on from him after the season if they didn’t win a championship. After the season I think Draymond Green is still to important to the Warriors’ identity. Bringing him back and trying to revamp around him is probably the better outcome and using Poole as the trade bait and moving on is likely the better option. This Warriors team is so old I think you just have to lean into Vetrans and abandon the two timelines approach they tried fully.
Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody project more as role players and can probably help the Warriors next season while having some upside themselves. Jordan Poole had the most potential star power of the young players, but he’s not really getting you to where you want to go anyway. It will be better to completely rebuild when that time comes.