All is well in the world of the Golden State Warriors right now, which is an amazing thing to say considering what the team has been through for the past few 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…he’s been a lot.
However, things could get hairy again over the next two years as team president Bob Myers and his brain trust search for a way to keep it all together.
Understanding the Andrew Wiggins/Jordan Poole situation will be a chore in itself. When you consider that Golden State will also have to work out new offers/extensions for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and, later, Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the situation becomes especially daunting given the club’s repeater tax status.
Of the above, Green’s future payment is perhaps the most difficult to analyze. After all, he’ll be 33 in his player option year of 2023-24, and despite that – as well as the fact that he’s not a high-scoring option – he’s once again looking to get the maximum money from the Dubs.
From our perspective, perhaps the best game for the Warriors is simply to solve the problem and trade Green for a player they can keep longer/cheaper. Here’s a deal accomplishing just that.
Draymond heads to Denver
To be clear, this commercial talk shouldn’t be taken as a negative commentary on what Green brings to the table. He remains a generational defender with an elite conscience and ability to play on the other side of the pitch to boot.
That said, paying him the $30 million-plus a year he’s looking for during an extension that would take him to 37 is probably a bridge too far.
So, instead of going that particular route, we offer 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 he can’t opt out of until 2025. As a result, the Dubs would save a few million in gross salary. — and many more millions in tax penalties — next season alone.
Meanwhile, the former No. 4 overall pick is a good match for the Warriors’ current core at both ends of the court. Last season, he averaged 15.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 34% from deep.
Best of all, Gordon has enough game to fit into the Warriors’ championship core while being young enough to do the same with the team’s incredible newcomers.
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Why Nuggets Do It
For the Nuggets, now is the time to bring the Nikola Jokic-Jamal Murray-MPJ core to the table of contenders, lest the team go the way of the Utah Jazz. Even if they can get all of their players healthy, it’s hard to see Denver reaching the promised land after ranking just 15th defensively last season (with a D-rating of 111.5).
Green’s incredible defensive flexibility, coupled with the team’s acquisition of lockout ace Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, could elevate the Nuggets to the top of NBA defenses. Meanwhile, Green’s play at the other end would keep Denver in a nice position at the other end.
And while the Nuggets have their own cap constraints, they’re in a better position to extend Green if the all-in play works out. Or, they could just let the baller play next season, go for 2023-24, and then go for his best deal.
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