Doubtful Dubs Sell Kuminga & Wisemen

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Updated: November 21, 2021
Jonathan-kuminga

The Golden State Warriors inevitably will be linked in countless trade talks as the bottom teams of the league solidify themselves as tanking contestants for the 2021 draft. In December, the majority of free agents who signed in the offseason will become eligible to be moved before the trade deadline as these bottom-tier teams will look to get assets as they sink to the bottom. The Warriors sit in a unique position as true contenders for the title while stocked with young assets and picks that could be flipped for a win-now piece for a playoff push. Most analysts around the league assumed it was the reason Kuminga was chosen at 7 since he has the highest ceiling long-term and would most likely be the most coveted trade piece in a package.

However, everything coming out of the Warriors’ camp from their beat writers suggests that since the Simmons exchange was put to rest, they now have zero intention of moving James Wisemen or Jonathon Kuminga. 7’1 center, James Wisemen has yet to come back from injury but should make his season debut this month. As for Jonathon Kuminga, it is clear that the 19-year-old 6’8 forward has the juice. Unlike the pressure they put on Wisemen by slotting him in the starting unit with Draymond and Curry last season, Kerr has slowly cut out slots of opportunities for Kuminga to get his feet wet. However, now with how the versatility and awareness he has already shown on the defensive end, and his natural ability to embarrass mismatches at the basket, it is become impossible not to gift him serious minutes in their rotation.

One could argue this has only added to his stock if a package of their youth + picks are traded for a star. However, Beal is completely off the table and Lillard was never a good fit even his shot left him. With how crazy their chemistry is at the moment, there is a concern of what a serious trade would do to the mojo the Warriors are built on. The primary reason though it is unlikely they traded is that owner Joe Lacob has been a huge fan of Kuminga’s even before the draft, so one can imagine his attachment to the rookie after how explosive he has looked on an NBA floor. Ownership has little desire for their franchise to look like the post-Kobe-Lakers after Curry retires and they see these two freaks of nature in Kuminga and Wisemen as the future.

If it were just future assets or the fear of what the franchise may look like down the road, it would probably be a foolish reason not to upgrade the roster. However, with the chemistry the youth bring to this team, they seem to fill a function that goes deeper than their on-court production. They are like freaky athletic freshmen on the varsity team and Jordan Poole is like the sophomore who has proven that hard work truly pays off. As we get closer to the deadline after Christmas, and teams look to unload their vets or a star demands a trade, despite the rumors that will circle on Twitter and the Gram, Jonathon and James most likely will not be moved for anything short of Jason Tatum or Jaylen Brown.

The Small Trade Option

With Kuminga and Gary Payton II taking minutes in the rotation, and the return of Wisemen and Klay Thompson coming soon, the depth of the Warriors has taken the majority of Juan Toscano Anderson’s minutes. It also puts into question the below-average starting center for the Warriors, Kevon Looney, and if his 5 million dollar contract could be the base of a package to upgrade their starting frontcourt. With Looney’s 5.1 and JTA’s 1.7 million, the near 7 total could be traded for a player making 8.5 million or below. They also have 3 trade exceptions ( from the Wannamaker, Pascal, and Chriss trades) that would allow them to take on small contracts despite not matching salaries. Even so, it is unlikely ownership would be willing to take on any serious additional costs as each million is multiplied exponentially as they are already heavily over the luxury tax threshold. There is one trade with the tanking Houston Rockets that could be mutually beneficial for both franchises.

Houston

The Rockets have had the worst record in basketball thus far this season. However, they have a promising backcourt in their recently drafted high-flying guard Jalen Green who has been as explosive as advertised. Their rebuilding process is an interesting one since they are patiently waiting for the giant John Wall contract (44.3 million) to expire the season after next. In this exchange, they would acquire the 5 million-dollar expiring contract of Kevon Looney along with a collection of 2nd round picks that would save ownership a serious amount of capital next season. Along with savings, they would be gifted the collection of 2nds, a 1st round pick in the upcoming draft, and Juan Toscano Anderson, who is exactly the type of player that could bring some life into this Houston roster.

He would be a below-average starter, hence why he is being traded, however, his effort level and commitment to defense would be a plus next to Jalen Green and their young center Christian Wood. He also has been a decent 3-point shooter so he could help space the floor. Houston would most likely be able to lock him up on a multi-year minimum deal and again save more on spending which has been a priority for owner, Tilman Fertitta. They would be sending away Daniel Theis who has been a nice player but as they are already out of the running for the play in game, at the deadline it would be advisable for them to get value for what he can contribute on a contender. As for Jae’Sean Tate, he has played well this season, yet due to his lack of jumper is not an ideal fit in the starting lineup long term to pair with Jalen Green who already is not the greatest floor spacer.

Golden State

It is a route that I have not heard proposed yet on the pods as most of the Warriors’ trades always include Wisemen, Kuminga, or Wiggins and are fixated on big-name additions. However, Golden State does have 3 tradable 1st round picks and a small collection of 2nds to trade to upgrade their starting big or at least add some additional front-court depth off the bench. Daniel Theis is a solid starting big who stretches the floor as an above-average spot-up 3-point shooter. He is a high energy effort guy who despite being an undersized big at 6’8 is still a tremendously better finisher at the rim in comparison to Looney. In the Warriors’ system, they create so many easy looks in the dunkers’ spot that Looney simply can’t convert on due to his lack of burst and athleticism that oftentimes the missed opportunity can become a frustration for those around him. Kevon use to be an above-average perimeter defender for a big but as of now does not seem to have the same lateral quickness he had in those old Houston series that granted his current 5 million dollar contract.

Jae’Sean Tate would also be a nice addition as a scoring punch off the bench. Although he is not a great shooter is a problem at the rim when he penetrates the paint and on limited minutes should be able to condense his double-digit scoring abilities into 12-15 minutes of play. The two additions also allow for more flexibility when it comes to resting Golden States vets on back-to-backs in Iggy, Otto Porter, and Bjelica. As good as those 3 players have been, ideally, their minutes are limited and they are load managed throughout the season which these two additions in Theis and Tate would allow.

 

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