5 Realistic Trade Packages Centered Around Golden State Warriors' James Wiseman
The Golden State Warriors enter Friday’s matchup with the New York Knicks with a 6-9 record. A disappointing start for the defending champions, to put it mildly.
The starting lineup isn’t to blame. Stephen Curry is playing arguably the best basketball of his career. He, along with Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney, are holding the team up. The Warriors' starting lineup has a plus-21.1 net rating (per Cleaning the Glass), the second-best five-man unit with over 200 possessions played.
So what gives?
Golden State’s two-timeline plan is getting in the way of its most important timeline: to contend for as long as Curry is in a Warriors jersey. The Warriors have five players aged 21 or under, and, counting two-ways, seven of their 16 players are under 25. They can’t win this year with so many young players still learning their way. The front office must consider trading the prized youth for veteran, win-now players.
James Wiseman, specifically, has become a pivot point. Already in year three, the 2020 No. 2 pick was assigned to the G League this week, showing that the coaching staff doesn't think he can play at an NBA level yet.
Wiseman, who is making $9.6 million this season with $12.1 million owed next season, presents the team with its best trade chip to acquire a veteran who can help the team compete.
Here are five trades that could involve moving Wiseman.
San Antonio Spurs
Trade proposal: Wiseman and Patrick Baldwin Jr. for San Antonio Spurs C Jakob Poeltl
Poeltl, 27, is in the last year of his three-year, $26.3 million contract ($9.4 million in 2022-23) and excelling as the Spurs' anchor.
Averaging 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, Poeltl plays a game similar to that of former Warrior Andrew Bogut. That’s exactly what the Warriors need—a defensive anchor capable of both initiating the offense and finishing plays inside.
While the Warriors have Kevon Looney and can always go small with Draymond Green, they lack other reliable frontcourt options. Adding a viable veteran like Poeltl could stabilize a second unit that bleeds leads and could make life easier for Jonathan Kuminga, whom the Warriors envision as a slashing two-way wing with the second unit.
Because Wiseman’s value is at an all-time low, the Warriors would need to sweeten the trade with 2022 first-round pick Baldwin. The Spurs might find this intriguing because they are rebuilding and the Warriors would be offering two talented players under 22 to develop. The move would mitigate the risk of losing Poeltl, who will be a 2023 unrestricted free agent.
Trade proposal: Wiseman for Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington
The Charlotte Hornets were rumored to have Wiseman as their top draft target heading into the 2020 draft. Considering how LaMelo Ball has played for Charlotte, I don’t think they are too mad about how the draft shook out.
The 4-12 Hornets are also in the midst of a poor season. Ball has been sidelined with ankle injuries. The Hornets have been rumored to have been shopping Washington, 24, over the last year because they likely won’t want to hand him the contract he’s looking for.
In Washington, the Warriors would get the ideal replacement to Otto Porter Jr, a large wing who can guard 1 through 5 on defense and space the floor on offense. Washington would allow Golden State to go small and give the bench a viable defensive presence.
In Wiseman, the rebuilding Hornets get a high-upside project who could be the perfect inside presence for Ball.
Trade proposal: Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga for Washington wing Kyle Kuzma
This one would hurt Warriors management. They likely don’t want to give away both of the franchise’s high lottery picks they had once hoped could carry the torch post-Curry.
In Kuzma, 27, the Warriors would be getting a 6'9", two-way wing averaging 18.3 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. The Warriors would use Kuzma as an anchor of the second unit as well as a closing lineup member in between Wiggins and Green in their small-ball lineups.
Why would the Wizards do this? Washington is stuck in no man's land, not bad enough to get a top pick but not good enough to contend. This trade would signal a mini rebuild with a gamble on high-upside talent.
Trade proposal: Wiseman and Baldwin for Utah Jazz C Kelly Olynyk
The Jazz’s surprising start caught the league by storm. But moves to deal Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert for draft picks signal a long-term rebuild. However fun this story has been, do not be surprised if Utah sells off vets for long-term upside plays. Olynyk is one veteran who could get dealt.
In Olynyk, 31, the Warriors would get a player who offensively fits the motion offense to a tee. An excellent passer and screener and a reliable three-point shooter, Olynyk could provide the necessary spacing to maximize Kuminga as a cutter and optimize the second unit.
In Wiseman and Baldwin, the Jazz would be taking a swing, betting their lower-stakes environment is exactly what Wiseman needs to get back on track and fulfill the promise of a high lottery pick.
Alternate Utah Jazz Package
Trade proposal: Wiseman and a 2026 first-round pick for Utah’s Jarred Vanderbilt and Rudy Gay
Sticking with Utah, the Warriors could also pursue Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt, 23, is one of best rebounders in the league and a versatile defender who would fit the Warriors. Vanderbilt’s ability to switch on to guards would give the Warriors the type of versatile defensive big that defined their title runs but their bench currently lacks.
While he is having a slow start to the season, Gay, 36, would provide another veteran to add to an incredibly young bench. The Jazz would be getting a chance to develop Wiseman and flexibility that a future first-round pick provides them.