NBA Trade Rumors: Warriors Foolish to Target Wilson Chandler for Lottery Pick

Sim Risso@@SimRissoFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 26: Wilson Chandler #21 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot against Omer Asik #3 and Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 26, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Nuggets defeated the Bulls 108-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors dodged a bullet when they won the No. 7 pick in the draft lottery, meaning they didn't have to relinquish their top-seven protected pick to the Utah Jazz. But now the Warriors must get out of their own way if their reported trade proposal, which would swap the No. 7 pick to the Denver Nuggets for Wilson Chandler, has any validity.

As was reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard this morning, the Warriors are in discussion with the Nuggets for Chandler.

Lots of teams calling Denver to trade for Nuggets' young players. 1of several moves being discussed: Wil Chandler to G State for 7th pick

In a vacuum, this trade could make sense for the Warriors. Wilson Chandler is a solid NBA player, and at 25-years-old, he's just now about to enter his prime. At small forward, Chandler plays a position of need for Golden State, as well. And unlike most rookie draft picks, Chandler will be able to contribute immediately.

The problem is that in this year's draft—which is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory—the long-term value of the No. 7 pick is much greater than Chandler's long-term value to Golden State.

For one, Chandler is a nice player, a contributor, but he'll never be much more than that. He has a high floor compared to a draft prospect, but his ceiling isn't nearly as high as the players Golden State could draft.

Secondly, Chandler signed a five-year, $31.7 million contract back in March, so there's a lot of money invested in him. On the one hand, that's a good thing, because there's cost certainty. You know Chandler isn't leaving in free agency any time soon.

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On the other hand, the Warriors already don't have much cap flexibility. By adding a player like Chandler, not only are they taking up much more cap space than they would with a draft pick, but they're doing it with a player that's not an established star.

Furthermore, and this is the clincher for Golden State, there's no guarantee that the Warriors are close to contention. Sure, they do have some good building blocks in Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Klay Thompson.

Two of those players—Curry and Bogut—have been injury-prone in the past. More importantly, none of them has established himself as a go-to guy or a bona fide star. However, if Golden State keeps the No. 7 pick, that's exactly what they could get.

If you ask the Warriors, they'll tell you they're on the cusp of contention. Only a few tweaks need to be made to get them there. The problem is we've heard that for a few years now. Yet the Warriors still have only made the playoffs once in the past 18 years.

Trading the No. 7 pick for a player like Chandler is something a proven contender might consider. If you knew he'd take you from a back-end playoff team to a championship contender, it would be worth contemplating. That does not describe Golden State's current status in the NBA.

The Warriors are better off holding on to the No. 7 pick this year. If they make their dramatic leap to contender status in the upcoming season, then trading next year's first-round pick for an established role player might make sense.

For now, the Warriors need to take their chances in the draft and hope they get the impact player that they desperately need.