Millsap to Golden State, Draymond Out the Door?

Updated: August 21, 2021
NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State Warriors

With the controversy swirling around the recent interview held by Draymond on his new online show Chips, hosting ex-teammate Kevin Durant, the question that everyone following Golden State must be asking is, will Dray be on the roster after this year’s trade deadline? Across the pods and throughout most articles and reports, it has been Andrew Wiggins that has been rumored to be the expendable contract in a blockbuster trade for an additional all-star. With Beal and Lillard momentarily removed from the trade-block, the only previous all-star readily available is the damaged asset of the young Ben Simmons. Twice in the last 6 weeks reports have floated through the airwaves about Daryl Morey and Bob Myers’ conversations about what it would take to get Ben out of Philly and out to the Bay. Both times, however, the trade conversations did not appear to get very serious and the details of what would be exchanged in their second discussions were never revealed.

The only concrete detail that has been reported coming out of the Warrior’s front office, is that the staff is split on the idea of trading substantial assets only to pair two non-shooters in Draymond Green and Ben Simmons together in the frontcourt. The lack of spacing one of those players provides is already problematic, but with Simmons’ sheer unwillingness to shoot outside of 8 feet unless it is forced upon him at the free-throw line would likely create the worst shooting frontcourt in the NBA. With this lack of spacing, opposing defensives have had the opportunity to hyper-focus on slowing down Steph Curry with double and triple teams.

A new development has been added to the equation though, with the reports of Golden State being interested in vet-power-forward Paul Millsap. Prior to the draft there had already been reported talks between the franchise and Millsap’s camp, yet without the deal being finalized it seemed like he had been offered a minimum contract whereas his agent was looking more for the 6-million-dollar mid-level exception the Warriors are still hoarding. The problem with those 6 million dollars added to the already the biggest payroll in the NBA, in luxury tax penalties it would cost north of 30 million not including the 6 itself. But Millsap has been chatting with teams looking for this payday he has seen so many players in his talent bracket with no success as of yet, as he is the last promising vet left on the free-agent market. Now a second time around, possibly Millsap and Myers may be willing to meet somewhere in the middle.

Although Millsap would be a good addition to any contender, in a vacuum the signing would be somewhat insignificant. How it may affect the Simmons equation is what brings us here today. No one would put Millsap in the defensive tier of the great Draymond Green, but even at his age of 36, he is a plus defender. Built to bash up smaller mismatches down low, Millsap has added a respectful jumper from beyond the arc. With the emergence of Juan Toscano Anderson and his nickname as baby Draymond, with the addition of Millsap at the 4, Green at least as a power forward becomes less and less of an untouchable commodity.

It is true, the Green-Simmons pairing is beyond problematic come the post-season, however, a lineup of Curry, Klay, Wiggins, Millsap, and Simmons is extremely intriguing, to say the least. It is unlikely Draymond Green is what Daryl Morey and the 76ers front office had in mind when they were sending ridiculous offer sheets across the league trying to boost up Ben’s value, but they have yet to get an offer back, and training camp is just around the corner. With Simmons reportedly not speaking to the team in any capacity and will most likely have his own version of the James Harden play that got him out of Houston, how deep down the well does Philly want to get with the Ben predicament?

Defensively, Draymond and Embiid would create the undoubted best defending backcourt in basketball. However, having a player who can’t shoot operating an offense that should be feeding their big man down low is a recipe for disaster. But Draymond still has value around the league, and if the Warriors were willing to lift the 1-4 protections on the first owed to Memphis in 2024, they would have their own 2022, 26, and 28 picks that they could attach to Draymond and a handful of minimum contracts in a 3-team deal, sending Simmons to the Warriors to play the 5.

The league as a whole is dying to see what could become of Ben Simmons if put in the right scenario and in the situation that Thompson can still operate the way he has in the past as an off-ball nightmare for opposing guards, there are no other better 2 players for Simmons to play with than Klay and Curry. In my opinion, the claims Simmons is an elite defender 1 through 5 is a bit a myth, as he is more of a 1-4 defender, and possibly the best in the league at it. However, if he is not going to add a jumper, he must be playing the 5. If given the opportunity, with what we have seen from his growth on the defensive end and with his power and size, he should become a plus defender even when covering the giants of the league if put in the right system to succeed.

It is all still speculation, and until Simmons is moved, these possibilities will still be out there. From a roster perspective, keeping Wiggins over Draymond if the player in return is a front-court player, especially one who loves to operate as a facilitator just makes more sense if the goal is to unleash Curry’s full potential impact. We will see.

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