The Golden State Warriors reportedly "want a star" like the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard or Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, but those trade pursuits may have to wait until after the 2021 NBA draft on Thursday night.
Substack's Marc Stein reported Friday on Chad Ford's NBA Big Board podcast the Warriors have assets, including the Nos. 7 and 14 overall picks in the draft, but it's unclear whether that draft capital is enough to land a player the caliber of Lillard or Beal.
"Are either one of those guys really in play at this draft? It's probably more Lillard than Beal at this point, but I just think the draft might come a step too soon for either one of those guys to be dealt," Stein said.
The Warriors want to ensure their championship window quickly reopens with Klay Thompson preparing to reunite with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green next season after missing the last two years because of ACL and Achilles injuries.
Adding a superstar like Lillard or Beal would provide a far greater boost to those efforts than the prospects they'd be able to take in the draft, even with two picks in the lottery of a rock-solid class.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers played coy in June when asked if he planned to add two rookies to the roster with those selections:
"It depends. If that's the best thing to do, that's what we'll do. But it depends. Some guys are older that can help you more and there are young guys, young guys that can help you. But then you weigh it against what you can do with those picks, and I have no idea right now what we can do with 14 or seven or them together, and I'm sure we'll find out and make the best decision we can."
Waiting until after the draft would complicate a blockbuster trade, however, because the draft picks are among the team's most valuable assets. If they return to a title-contending level, their future selections will be toward the latter stages of the first round and carry less value.
Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman are the other roster players who could attract interest, while a Kelly Oubre Jr. sign-and-trade deal is another option.
It's also possible the Dubs could flip the prospects they take in the draft to either the Blazers or Wizards later in the offseason, but there are obviously complications with that since the other team would have to like the player the Warriors took on draft night.
Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that Golden State's chances of pulling off a blockbuster trade would "plummet" if the framework of a deal isn't in place before the draft.
The question may become whether the Warriors would be willing to move this year's picks for a veteran player who isn't quite on the same level as Lillard and Beal if it becomes clear they won't be able to land either of those marquee names before the draft.
All told, the high number of variable in play makes Golden State perhaps the most enticing team to watch leading up to Thursday night.