Warriors' Updated Trade Targets with 2021 NBA Deadline ApproachingMarch 4, 2021
Warriors' Updated Trade Targets with 2021 NBA Deadline Approaching
Stephen Curry's absurd offensive outbursts are a sight to behold. They also should be a call to action for the Golden State Warriors ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline.
The two-time MVP is doing all the heavy lifting he can, but he needs more help. With no Klay Thompson (torn Achilles), Curry is doing his best to prop up an undermanned supporting cast.
The Dubs have the trade ammunition to change that, starting with two of the Association's top trade chips: rookie James Wiseman and a top-three-protected 2021 first-round pick owed by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Golden State could aim as high as its imagination can travel if it put both on the table, but even one would be enough to land an impact piece.
If the goal is to support Curry and pursue maximum competitiveness this season, the following three players should be on the Warriors' radar.
Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans
Trade winds that once swirled around Lonzo Ball have largely quieted as 2017's No. 2 pick has started playing some of the best basketball of his young career.
Still, it seems possible the New Orleans Pelicans could reverse course again (re-reverse?) if they're less than keen on covering the costs of the 23-year-old's upcoming restricted free agency. Should he return to the trade block, the Warriors need to be on the horn trying to bring him to the Bay.
They're short on ball-movers behind Curry and Draymond Green, and Ball is a natural table-setter. His 5.2 assists, which are a career-low, would easily rank third in Golden State. That number could also climb even if his usage ticked down a notch.
In head coach Steve Kerr's free-flowing system, Ball's vision, hit-ahead deliveries and creativity could shine while connecting with open shooters, transition attackers and off-ball cutters.
While most deadline moves would force the Warriors to decide between instant gratification or long-term relief, Ball could help on both fronts. His playmaking and defensive versatility would allow him to contribute right away, and he's young enough to start forming the franchise's future foundation with Wiseman.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Sorry, Washington Wizards fans, but Bradley Beal talk isn't going away.
No matter how many times the 27-year-old or the team insists a move isn't happening, it doesn't change the fact that he's leading a fish-out-of-water existence in the District. He's ready to help someone chase a championship, and the Wizards are spinning their tires near the back end of the Eastern Conference standings.
The price tag would be steep, but few teams can form a more compelling offer than Golden State. It would take Wiseman, the Wolves pick and more, but the Dubs could do it if they want.
And why wouldn't they want the league's leading scorer? Beal's shot might not be quite as sharp as Thompson's (very few are), but he's much more dynamic off the bounce. He and Curry could initiate offense from either side, while the other looms as a lethal spot-up launcher. Kerr could cook up some creative two-man actions between them, too.
It's also critical that Beal is under contract for at least one more season—he has a $36.4 million player option for 2022-23—so he'd still be around for Thompson's return.
While one can debate whether a Curry-Thompson-Green core still has enough to make a title push, there would be no such second-guessing if Beal was added to that nucleus.
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
This surely isn't the first, second or even third time you've seen Aaron Gordon's name attached to the Warriors, but the links have been made for a reason.
The 25-year-old has reached the water-treading stage of his tenure with the Orlando Magic, but he might have more upside than he's been able to show in Disney's backyard. He pairs spring-loaded athleticism with a handling and passing combo that could look super-compelling if he were utilized properly.
He's not a wing, even though Orlando has utilized him at the 3 spot for 36 percent of his career minutes. He's best as a small-ball 4 or 5, not unlike the role Green fills. Put those two together, and the Warriors would be hyper-versatile in the frontcourt on defense and would have two electric pick-and-roll partners for Curry.
If Gordon had more breathing room with the Warriors (he would), then he could sky-rocket his efficiency and dig deeper into his playmaking bag. He's already a nightly supplier of 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists outside of Golden State's system. In it, he'd have a chance to up the quantity and quality of his contributions.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.