Warriors Rumors: Latest Buzz on LaMarcus Aldridge Trade, Deni Avdija, More
Now that the 2020-21 NBA season and free-agency period have start dates, the clock is ticking for teams like the Golden State Warriors to put their plans into motion.
This year's NBA draft will take place Wednesday, and free agency will begin Friday at 6 p.m. ET, not two weeks before training camp will commence.
Heading into the campaign, all eyes will be on the Warriors as they attempt to become contenders in the Western Conference again. A combination of bad luck and injuries turned a team that had won three of the previous five titles into the worst outfit in the league last year. Without their core player, the Warriors posted a dreadful sub-500 season one year removed from their last Finals appearance.
Nevertheless, their backcourt of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry will return, which immediately makes them a threat. All that's left is to fill some gaping hole in their depth and they will be prepared to compete again.
Which raises the question, what does the organization plan to do on draft day? It still feels bizarre to say the Warriors have a lottery pick, and the No. 2 pick could change their fortunes.
Warriors Could Trade No. 2 Pick for LaMarcus Aldridge
For months, reports have suggested that Golden State plans to trade down on draft day. It makes sense given this isn't a deep draft and the No. 2 pick will be more valuable to rebuilding teams.
Even more, the organization could probably get the player it's interested in without the top pick. Rumors that the Warriors plan to make a trade with the San Antonio Spurs seem to line up with this idea.
On the most recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast, Zach Lowe said, "Someone within the league today texted me, 'Hey, there's a little bit of buzz about No. 2 to San Antonio for LaMarcus Aldridge and No. 11,' and obviously there would have to be salary going out."
Lowe went on to balk at the rumor, stating: "The Warriors should not do that. You don't trade the No. 2 pick for LaMarcus Aldridge, and I don't care if you're getting No. 11."
Moving down a few picks to select a swingman to add along with Aldridge appears to be a good idea on paper. However, Golder State would have to pick up the remainder of the Spurs big man's contract, which amounts to $24 million.
That's a hefty price for the 35-year-old, and they would undoubtedly have to part ways with several pieces to make the trade work.
Golden State Impressed with Deni Avdija
If the Warriors trade their pick for a lower pick, the team has its eyes on a small forward. Early projections had them planning to pursue Devin Vassell from Florida State if they were selecting later in the draft and James Wiseman if they remained at No. 2.
However, new reports suggest that Golden State is interested in the reigning Israeli Basketball Premier League MVP Deni Avdija.
The Athletic's Ethan Strauss wrote, "By all accounts, it was a positive get-together, one in which the 19-year-old Israeli impressed observers. Not only did Avdija perform well in the workouts, but Warriors officials were blown away after meeting with him."
Avdija has also been attached to the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls. While the 6'9" Israeli-Serb isn't a great shooter, he's a deft playmaker, which would make him a good fit for Steve Kerr's offense. In fact, he could play a similar role as Draymond Green because he moves the ball well and he can facilitate in the pick-and-roll and on fast breaks.
Ball Could Land in the Warriors' Lap
While the No. 2 pick is seemingly available, there is some talk about using it to draft a new anchor for the team. It doesn't seem like the organization will be able to package it into a trade for a star player, as most of the young players they want are tied to lengthy contracts.
That could make it enticing to just go with a safe pick like Wiseman. The team could use a reliable big man, so selecting the center from Memphis could be the most sensible decision.
However, the class' potential star guard, LaMelo Ball, could also fall to the second pick, and his mystique could be too intriguing to pass on. According to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, there could be a push to draft Ball: "One source close to Golden State mentioned there could be pressure from ownership to draft Ball, while a second source believed there was fear about how he'd mesh personality-wise with the core veterans."
There are so many unanswered questions around Ball, but most insiders agree that his impressive passing and ball-handling will make him an asset. He will be a top-five pick, but it's hard to imagine how he would fit on a Warriors team that is attempting to revamp and compete for a championship now.