Warriors Notes: Giannis, Okongwu, Draft, Eliyahu

Every now and then, over the last year, a report has surfaced detailing the Warriorsinterest in Giannis Antetokounmpo or suggesting that Golden State has been preparing its pursuit of the Bucks star for “years.” However, Anthony Slater of The Athletic is highly skeptical that anything will come of the Warriors’ interest in Giannis, whose current contract with Milwaukee expires in 2021.

As Slater explains, the fact that the Warriors were able to land Kevin Durant in 2016 means they’ll never be ruled out when they pursue other superstars, but in that case, everything lined up perfectly for the franchise — Durant was able to team up with the Warriors’ stars when they were all in their primes and took advantage of a huge cap spike in 2016 to join the team on a max-salary deal.

Several years later, the cap situation for the Warriors and the NBA as a whole isn’t nearly as rosy — Golden State’s cap is loaded with big-money contracts for its stars (and Andrew Wiggins), offering no realistic path to landing Antetokoumpo as a free agent or in a sign-and-trade. The league’s lost revenues also mean that a major dip in the cap is more likely than another spike.

On top of all that, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are in their 30s now, meaning that if he were to become a Warrior, Giannis “would be joining what’d probably become the early stages of a rebuild around him,” Slater writes.

If a star player badly wants to get to a specific team, there’s often a way to make it work, as we saw with last summer with the likes of Anthony Davis and Paul George. But there has been zero indication that Giannis is itching to leave the team with the NBA’s best record for the one in dead last. And even if that’s what he wanted, the roadblocks in the way would be substantial.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • In a mailbag for The San Francisco Chronicle, Connor Letourneau discusses Alen Smailagic‘s development, possible options for the Warriors’ $17MM trade exception, and potential draft targets, among other topics. Interestingly, Letourneau indicates that, when it comes to draft-eligible big men, Golden State is higher on Onyeka Okongwu than James Wiseman.
  • While there has been plenty of speculation about the Warriors potentially trading their 2020 lottery pick for win-now veteran help, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic contends that it might make more sense for the club to move the Timberwolves’ 2021 first-rounder if a major trade opportunity arises.
  • Veteran Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu, who spent the 2019/20 season with Maccabi Ashdod, is considering retirement, per an Israel Hayom report (relayed by Sportando). How is that news relevant to the Warriors? Well, Golden State technically holds Eliyahu’s NBA rights, having acquired them in a trade with Minnesota last July. The No. 44 pick in the 2016 draft never came stateside, but has had a decorated playing career in his home country, winning six Israeli League titles and earning seven All-Star nods.
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12 thoughts on “Warriors Notes: Giannis, Okongwu, Draft, Eliyahu

  1. If GSW must play out the rest of the season Kerr should make Green the coach for the games. It would be fun to see how Green coaches and keep him healthy.

  2. wagner13

    “Golden State’s cap is loaded with big-money contracts for its stars (and Andrew Wiggins”

    Lol at the shot taken at Wiggins

  3. Golden State is either guilty of tampering or the media just make these rumors up. Somebody needs called out.

    • its just the media making up things for news stories. Every team wants him on their team and why not? There was rumors of AD going to GSW before he was dealt to the Lakers.

    • ThePeople'sElbow

      tampering are you serious? let’s go back and litigate the AD to LAL tampering then too.

  4. formerlyz

    I havent done any draft research yet, but Okongwu reminds me a little of Bam when I saw a little of him, so it wouldnt be surprising for GS to be high on him

    • Howie415

      From the scouting reports I’ve read, he sounds more like a defense and rebounding kinda player. He doesn’t shoot really well. But, he passes well enough to not clog up the offense. I still like Avdija

    • Simmons>Russ

      Okungwu is more like a natural centre but just smaller and plays PF.
      He’s high energy, long arms and athletic, likes to block shots and rebound the ball.

      I think his best landing spot would be the TWolves. Towns at the 5 is weak defensively and offensively he spaced the floor and handles the ball. Okungwu would help that team with his defence and on offence he would have space to operate.
      I think if he ends up on a team like a paint dominate centre he’s not going to do well and it could ruin his career. I’m talking teams like Atlanta with Collins and Capela already on the roster. If he falls a little I think Washington could be a nice fit with Wall Beal and Hachimura

      • formerlyz

        Washington definitely could use a big like him, but I cant speculate until we know the draft order.

        Minnesota could try using multiple big lineups, but I’d rather see more of James Johnson next to KAT, as I think that is a perfect fit. They could use more size defensively on the wing, and help at the backup guard spot, and a backup 5 along the lines of a defensive guy, but the top of the draft wouldnt be the spot to fill that area, when you have KAT at the 5

        • formerlyz

          …having looked up the reverse standings, GS, Cleveland (with or without Drummond), Detroit, and Washington stand out as teams in the lottery that would be a good fit

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