The NBA trade deadline is now a little more than three weeks away, and the Warriors will have to decide if now’s the time to try and improve. At this point, it’s clear that the Klay-less Warriors are an above average team and nothing more. At 19-16 they’re the eighth seed in a packed Western Conference, which would put them in the play-in tournament come playoff time.
Whether the Warriors would consider a massive shakeup has to do with how they evaluate this current group with Klay Thompson, and if they believe it’s good enough to make a serious title run for the next few seasons. If they’re unsure about that, we could see the type of deal that ESPN floated on Wednesday morning, in a piece looking at five hypothetical trades they’d like to see at the deadline.
This hypothetical has Bob Myers doing business with old friend Travis Schlenk, now the general manager of the Hawks, in a nine player deal that also involves next year’s Timberwolves pick. Here’s the proposal:
Golden State Warriors get: John Collins, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish and 2021 first-round pick (from Hawks)
Atlanta Hawks get: Eric Paschall, Kent Bazemore, Damion Lee, Jordan Poole, Marquese Chriss, Mychal Mulder, 2021 top-three protected first-round pick (from Timberwolves)
Breaking down this deal from the Warriors perspective involves two main questions: How good do you think John Collins can be and how valuable is a possible top five in this year’s draft?
The fact that this is supposed to be one of the best drafts in recent years makes this trade a hard sell for the Warriors, who you could conceivably argue would be in great shape by standing pat and going into 2021 with Thompson, a top five rookie and James Wiseman with a year under his belt. The pick is top three protected, so it’s very possible that the Warriors wouldn’t get it until next year considering the Wolves are in last place, which is something to consider. As of now, however, the Warriors would still have nearly a 60 percent chance that pick lands at No. 4 or 5 in the lottery.
Collins is certainly a nice player, averaging 18 and 8 this season, but it’s unclear to see where he would fit exactly in the front court, especially with Wiseman as the center of the future. Huerter and Reddish are both good young wings, and that’s certainly appealing for a team lacking consistent depth in that area. Here’s ESPN’s breakdown:
The past two seasons have shown us that the Warriors have a strong need for young talent and quality depth to supplement their aging championship core. Collins is a young, starting-caliber and potentially impact big man capable of volume scoring, solid rebounding and stretching the floor from the perimeter. He fits in lineups next to either Draymond Green or James Wiseman, could help the Warriors get into the playoffs this season and could be a major contributor on a team with championship aspirations once Klay Thompson returns next season.
Collins is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, but the Warriors would have the ability to match any offer he receives if they decide he’s a cornerstone piece for their future. Reddish and Huerter are both long, young wings drafted in the first round of recent drafts who fit the mold of the off-ball shooters who thrive in the Warriors’ system. The Hawks’ pick looks to be a mid-first-rounder, which could provide more young depth moving forward.