Warriors Rumors

2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Golden State Warriors

Hoops Rumors is previewing the 2020 offseason for all 30 NBA teams. We’re looking at the key questions facing each club, as well as the roster decisions they’ll have to make this fall. Today, we’re focusing on the Golden State Warriors.


Salary Cap Outlook

The Warriors won’t have any cap room available in the 2020 offseason. In fact, adding the cap hit for a top-five draft pick to their already-pricey roster will easily put the Dubs in luxury tax territory.

Still, assuming team ownership remains willing to spend big, Golden State has some flexibility to add roster upgrades using the taxpayer mid-level exception (which should be worth at least $5.7MM) and a $17.2MM traded player exception.

Our full salary cap preview for the Warriors can be found right here.


Roster Decisions To Watch

Options:

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Contracts:

Two-Way Contracts:

  • None

Free Agents:

  • None

2020 Draft Assets

First Round:

  • No. 1 overall pick (pending lottery results)

The Warriors are tied for the most favorable lottery odds, with a 14.0% chance at the No. 1 overall pick and a 52.1% chance to receive a top-four selection. Because they had the NBA’s worst record, they can’t fall further than No. 5 (47.9%).

Second Round:

  • No. 48 overall pick (pending final standings)
  • No. 50 overall pick (pending final standings)

The Warriors traded away their own second-round pick (No. 31), but acquired Dallas’ and Utah’s selections, which currently project to land at No. 48 and 50, respectively.


Three Key Offseason Questions

1. What will the Warriors do with their top-five draft pick?

If the Warriors were in a position to draft a potential generational talent such as Zion Williamson with their lottery pick this fall, there would be little doubt that they’d hang onto their first-rounder and simply plug that player into their lineup.

However, with no consensus on who should be the No. 1 pick in 2020 and no surefire superstars in this year’s draft class, it might make more sense for the veteran team to shop its top-five pick and trade it to the highest bidder.

Just one year removed from their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, the Warriors are well positioned to bounce back in a big way in 2020/21, with a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back in the mix. The right deal could give Golden State the immediate upgrade necessary to once again enter the season as the championship frontrunner.

Unlike most clubs picking high in the lottery, the Warriors aren’t in desperate need of an infusion of young talent. And with teams around the NBA potentially tightening their purse strings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, acquiring a high-upside rookie on a cost-controlled four-year contract could hold significant appeal to a potential Warriors trade partner, increasing the Dubs’ leverage in negotiations.

Still, there are compelling reasons for Golden State to considering keeping the pick. For one, the Warriors’ stars are all now in their 30s — going all-in on veterans would mean risking having the franchise’s window of contention close within the next few years. Adding a young building block could help eventually ease the transition from the Curry/Thompson/Draymond Green-era Warriors to the next generation.

It’s also worth considering what exactly the Warriors could get back in a trade involving their lottery pick. When the Lakers landed the No. 4 pick in the 2019 lottery, it was a foregone conclusion that they’d use that pick as part of their offer for Anthony Davis. There are no superstars this fall who are locks to be on the trade block and who have conveyed a desire to play in the Bay Area. A top-five pick could net the Warriors a good return, but the opportunity to land a bona fide star may simply not be there this offseason.

Although I certainly expect the Warriors to explore a variety of trade options involving their lottery pick, it wouldn’t surprise me if the team’s approach to that selection is similar to the one it took with D’Angelo Russell. When Golden State acquired Russell in a sign-and-trade, it did so knowing he’d have enough value to eventually be flipped for an asset – or assets – that better complemented the current roster.

The Warriors could take the same path with their top pick, using it to draft a player while recognizing that that prospect could eventually headline an appealing package if the right veteran star reaches the trade market.

2. What will the Warriors do with their $17MM+ trade exception?

The Warriors’ decision on trading their draft pick is complicated by the fact that they have a $17MM+ traded player exception that will expire if it’s not used by October 24. The exception allows the team to acquire a player (or players) earning up to $17,285,185 without sending out any salary themselves. That ability could be extremely useful in any draft-day trade.

Most trade exceptions expire without being used, but this one – besides being unusually large – is also one of the only viable avenues for the Warriors to make a roster upgrade this fall. They project to be well over the tax line, meaning they’ll have no cap room, no bi-annual exception, and will only have the taxpayer version of the mid-level exception. If they don’t use this TPE, their flexibility to add talent will be limited.

That’s not to say that the Warriors are obligated to use the exception. Adding salary to the roster will increase Golden State’s tax bill exponentially. And while Joe Lacob and company have never been shy about spending big, we’re in uncharted territory now, with no real sense of when fans might be allowed back in the Warriors’ new arena. The revenues from the Chase Center were supposed to help offset the rising cost of the club’s roster, but barring a major nationwide and statewide improvement on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the club won’t be selling out its building anytime soon.

The Warriors will want to take advantage of Curry’s and Thompson’s prime years and aren’t about to cut costs. But acquiring a player earning $17MM would likely increase the team’s tax bill by three or four times that amount. Although there are some intriguing potential targets out there, guys like Evan Fournier, Will Barton, J.J. Redick, or Josh Richardson aren’t exactly stars — increasing overall 2020/21 payroll by $50-80MM to land one of them might not be the best use of the organization’s resources.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting that using a $17MM trade exception to acquire a player earning $5MM – instead of $17MM – shouldn’t be viewed as a wasted opportunity. If a lesser-priced player can provide similar production, it’s the prudent move, even if it means not taking advantage of the full exception. As such, if the Warriors use their TPE, they may prioritize finding a bargain veteran or a player on a rookie contract who could be acquired without breaking the bank.

3. What’s the plan for Andrew Wiggins?

The cleanest way for the Warriors to avoid an astronomical tax bill while still making some changes to their roster would be to trade Wiggins. Of the four Warriors players earning more than $22MM in 2020/21, he’s the most expendable, having not been part of their championship teams.

But Wiggins still doesn’t have positive trade value at this point. When he was dealt to Golden State for Russell, there was plenty of talk about how playing on the wing alongside Curry, Thompson, and Green would be an ideal situation for the former No. 1 pick, giving him a chance to rebuild his value as a complementary option rather than a go-to guy. However, we haven’t actually seen whether that forecast will come to fruition, in part because he hasn’t had a chance to play with the team’s three stars yet.

In the limited action he did see for the Warriors, Wiggins didn’t look all that different from the player we saw in Minnesota. He can score, but not especially efficiently. And the team was worse defensively when he was on the court than when he sat.

With three years and $94.7MM left on his contract, Wiggins still has to take significant strides before he can realistically be considered a positive trade asset. That means it probably doesn’t make much sense for Golden State to try to move him this offseason.

If the team legitimately believes that Wiggins will thrive in his new role, it should give him a chance to do so. If it works, Warriors management can decide at that point whether it makes more sense to keep him in that role or to revisit the trade market with a more appealing asset in hand.

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thompson Working Out In California

Draymond Green Fined For Violating Anti-Tampering Rule

Warriors forward Draymond Green has been fined $50K for comments he made about the Suns‘ Devin Booker on TNT, the NBA announced on Twitter.

The league considers Green’s suggestion that Booker should force his way out of Phoenix so he can play for a better organization to be a violation of its anti-tampering rule. In announcing the fine, the league notes that before the current season, it “adopted a stricter enforcement approach for conduct relating to tampering, salary cap circumvention, and free agency timing rules, including with respect to the rule prohibiting player-to-player tampering.”

Green, who is serving as a studio host during the NBA’s restart, raised eyebrows Friday with pointed comments toward the Suns and his opinion on Booker’s future.

“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix,” he said. “It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck (Charles Barkley), but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

Draymond Green: Devin Booker Needs To Get Out Of Phoenix

Warriors forward Draymond Green admits he may have crossed the line into tampering with comments he made Friday on “Inside the NBA” calling for Suns star Devin Booker to force his way out of Phoenix, writes Sam Quinn of CBS Sports. Booker has been one of the top performers in Orlando, leading the Suns to four straight wins and keeping them in the playoff race, but Green doesn’t believe he has a bright future if he remains with the franchise.

“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix,” Green said. “It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck (Charles Barkley), but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

Asked by co-host Ernie Johnson if his comments constituted tampering, Green laughed and replied, “Maybe.”

Green has been openly critical of the Suns before, Quinn notes. In the preseason, he blasted them for giving up too early on lottery pick Marquese Chriss, who turned in a career-best season for the Warriors.

“Let’s be frank about it,” Green said. “When (Chriss) was there, the organization was terrible. Everything was going wrong. But he get blamed, like he’s the problem. When he left, ain’t nothing go right. That’s my take on it.”

Green has a reputation for reaching out to stars from other teams, most notably Kevin Durant after Golden State dropped the seventh game of the NBA Finals in 2016. Durant agreed to join the Warriors and captured two championships with them.

It would be difficult for Golden State or any other team to pry Booker out of Phoenix. He’s the centerpiece of the rebuilding effort in Phoenix and still has four seasons remaining on the maximum extension he signed in the summer of 2018.

While Green’s statement will attract scrutiny from the NBA office, the league has tended to overlook player comments and assess tampering fines only to team executives, observes Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports. He cites the example of LeBron James saying last year that he would like to have Anthony Davis as a teammate. The league responded by sending an anti-tampering memo to all 30 teams, but didn’t impose a fine on James.

NBA Explores Idea Of Bottom Eight Teams Conducting OTAs At Disney Campus

A report earlier this week suggested that the idea of creating a second “bubble” this summer for the NBA’s bottom eight clubs to conduct organized team activities appeared to be losing steam.

However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, league officials made it clear in a Wednesday conference call that they’re still trying to figure out as solution that will allow those teams to stay active. One idea that has been discussed, sources tell Amick, is bringing those bottom eight teams to the NBA’s first bubble at Walt Disney World.

As Amick explains, we’re just over a week away from six of the 22 teams participating in the Orlando restart being eliminated, which would open up more space at the Disney hotels and basketball courts. Two weeks later, after the first round of the playoffs ends, eight more clubs will be eliminated, leaving just eight of the original 22 on campus.

That could create an opportunity for the NBA to invite the bottom eight teams – the Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Hawks, Knicks, Pistons, Bulls, and Hornets – into its “bubble.” Presumably, players, coaches, and staffers would quarantine in Disney hotels for several days before being cleared to participate in group workouts, practices, and perhaps even inter-squad scrimmages.

Amick cautions that this idea is just being considered for now, with nothing decided as of yet. A number of the hotel rooms being vacated by teams by the end of the first round of the postseason are expected to be filled by family members of players on the remaining clubs, who will be permitted to bring guests onto the campus around the end of August. So the NBA would have logistical challenges to overcome to bring such a plan together.

It also seems unlikely that all of those bottom eight teams would be enthusiastic about traveling to Orlando, quarantining, and spending a period of time at the Disney campus. The Warriors are known to prefer the idea of group workouts in their own market, and the Knicks have been averse to the idea of a second bubble because they have a number of free agents on their roster who likely wouldn’t participate (any organized team activities the NBA approves are expected to be voluntary, not mandatory).

Still, it’s worth noting that one of the NBPA’s primary concerns about OTAs for the non-Orlando teams is a belief that it’d be difficult to replicate the Disney safety protocols at another location. Bringing those teams onto the Disney campus would be the simplest way to ensure that those players are subject to the same safety protocols, so the union would have to consider such a plan. We’ll see if anything comes of it.

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Rondo, Warriors, Ayton

The Clippers announced on Wednesday that starting point guard Patrick Beverley is out with a left calf injury for Thursday’s game against the Mavericks (Twitter link). In addition to Beverley, forward Montrezl Harrell is still away from the team.

Beverley suffered the injury in the first quarter against the Suns on Tuesday afternoon. The defensive-minded point guard’s injury isn’t considered serious, however, which is good news for the Clippers, who have championship aspirations.

Without Beverley, Reggie Jackson could be inserted into the Clippers’ starting lineup, with Lou Williams and Landry Shamet also handling point guard duties.

Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Wednesday that Rajon Rondo has begun daily coronavirus testing after returning to Florida to rehab, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Assuming Rondo tests negative for seven consecutive days before re-entering the NBA’s campus, he’ll have to do a four-day quarantine upon returning. That means he could theoretically rejoin the Lakers by the time the postseason begins, though he may not be ready to play by then.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines how the Warriors could use their $17.2MM traded player exception to acquire a bridge player and ultimately flip him in a second deal to upgrade the roster. Slater brings up Myles Turner and Aaron Gordon as potential targets who make more than the TPE.
  • After missing 35 games earlier this season, Suns center Deandre Ayton welcomes the opportunity to compete down in the bubble, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The 22-year-old big man says that he’s matured and is confident in his abilities. “I can say I’ve grown up in a way to where I’m just not being a robot running the play,” he said. “I’m the playmaker when I got the ball, for real, and just me seeing the type of dominance and the type of effect I have on both sides of the floor. Affects the whole game and the whole team has bought in.” Through three games in the bubble, Ayton is averaging 16.6 PPG and 9.0 RPG.

Second Bubble For NBA’s Bottom Eight Teams Now Appears Unlikely

A report one month ago suggested that the NBA appeared likely to create a second campus/bubble environment in Chicago for the league’s bottom eight teams. The idea was for those teams left out of the Orlando restart to spend some time with their players during the offseason, conducting mini-training camps and inter-squad games in a single location.

However, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, there’s a growing belief that a second bubble site won’t happen. The Athletic’s duo reports that there’s also pessimism about those bottom eight teams getting to hold in-market minicamps for group workouts.

“There’s nothing happening,” said one general manager following a Tuesday call with the eight GMs and various league officials. “It’s a shame. It’s a huge detriment to these eight franchises that were left behind.”

With the NBA focusing on the success of the Orlando restart, discussions about plans for the bottom eight teams – the Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Hawks, Bulls, Pistons, Knicks, and Hornets – have been inconsistent. As recently as last week, there seemed to be momentum building toward a plan to allow those clubs to hold practices and workouts, but that momentum has apparently stalled.

According to Charania and Amick, the National Basketball Players Association has safety concerns related to the idea of a second bubble amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There are also financial and logistical complications associated with creating a smaller-scale version of the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus.

Charania and Amick suggest that the NBPA is more open to the idea of creating smaller, in-market bubbles for teams to host individual mini-camps in their respective cities. But it sounds as if that won’t happen by mid-August as initially hoped, if it happens at all.

The eight teams left out of the Orlando restart believe they’re at a potential competitive disadvantage by missing out on the player and culture development that other teams are getting this summer, sources tell The Athletic. Those clubs are expected to continue pushing for some form of offseason team activities to re-engage players and coaches. For now, they’re only permitted to hold 1-on-0 workouts at their practice facilities, with limited coach involvement.

Western Notes: Wiggins, Nurkic, Daniels, Davis

Warriors coach Steve Kerr sought input from Tom Thibodeau after the team acquired Andrew Wiggins back in February, Marc Berman details in a story for the New York Post.

Thibodeau, who coached Wiggins in Minnesota from 2016-19, gave Kerr advice on how to maximize Wiggins’ game and playstyle. Golden State traded for Wiggins in a deal that shipped away D’Angelo Russell, acquiring a wing they hope can succeed alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“We had just traded for Andrew Wiggins and he was really helpful,’’ Kerr said. “I had a long conversation with [Thibodeau] about Andrew. He gave me some good advice on ways to connect with Andrew, how much he enjoyed coaching him and why. We’ve gotten to know each other over the years. [Thibodeau has] been very helpful to us.”

The Timberwolves fired Thibodeau in January of 2019 after he reportedly failed to connect with a number of his players. Wiggins didn’t appear to be one of these players, however, as Kerr explained. It’s a vital reason why Kerr was elated to hear Thibodeau’s advice, along with how he’s a proven, veteran NBA coach.

“He showed some X’s and O’s and went over some actions they ran for [Wiggins],” Kerr said. “Some of the things they were trying to do. The thing with Tom is he’s a workaholic, loves the X’s and O’s, loves breaking down film and takes great joy in it. Our staff values his opinion.’’

“What is apparent is he and Andrew had a great relationship and Andrew said that as well. I know Andrew told me he really enjoyed playing for him and appreciated his commitment. When a coach knows his stuff and gets along with his players, he’s got a great chance to succeed. I think Tom’s got a great shot.’

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • The Blazers are rallying around Jusuf Nurkic as his grandmother battles COVID-19, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Nurkic learned the news last week and immediately urged his grandmother to visit a hospital. “I think people don’t realize that s— is real out there, man,” Nurkic said. “We’ve been fortunate to be here and in a safe environment, being tested every day, but please … take care of yourself. Wear your damn mask … if you are outside, by yourself, do what you got to do. But if you are inside … protect people.”
  • Nuggets guard Troy Daniels discussed his time with the Lakers, his path to Denver and more in an interview with Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Daniels was waived by the Lakers on March 1 and signed with the Nuggets four days later. “Early in my years, my agent used to tell me, he said it’s always good to be wanted,” Daniels said. “It’s good to feel wanted, and I want to be where I’m wanted.”
  • The Lakers could benefit from keeping Anthony Davis active by ensuring that he gets plenty of shots, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Davis scored just 14 points in the team’s loss against Toronto on Saturday, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field. However, he believes he made the right decisions based on how the Raptors were guarding him. “We didn’t shoot the ball extremely well tonight at all from the field or from 3, which kind of let them continue with their game plan of doubling me,” Davis said. “I think if we had made a couple of shots, then they would’ve definitely changed a little bit.” 

New York Notes: Nets, Crawford, Thibodeau, Forbes List

The Nets were overmatched in their first reseeding game Friday against the Magic, and it’s a trend that will likely continue throughout their stay in Orlando, writes Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. Brooklyn started out strong in the 128-118 loss, which dropped the team into eighth place in the East, but a lack of proven NBA talent was too much to overcome. The Nets are missing seven members of their regular roster.

“We need to embrace that stuff a little bit,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We’ll have to be extremely gritty, put a body on someone every single possession. That gave us more than 40 opportunities to shoot 3s and when teams do that you have to make them pay.”

There’s more on the New York teams:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford was held out of Friday’s game and may not make his debut with the Nets tomorrow, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Crawford is listed as questionable for the contest with the Wizards because of conditioning issues. Brooklyn holds a six-game lead over Washington and can effectively clinch a playoff spot with a win.
  • Now that Tom Thibodeau is officially the new head coach of the Knicks, Jonathan Macri of Sports Illustrated looks at five of his former players who could potentially play for him in New York. He notes that when Thibodeau was hired in Minnesota, he brought in several of his ex-players from Chicago. In addition to Taj Gibson, who is already on New York’s roster and is waiting for the team to make a decision on his $9.5MM option for next season, Macri’s list includes D.J. Augustin, Zach LaVine, Jeff Teague and Dario Saric.
  • The Knicks are this year’s highest-valued NBA team on the annual list from Forbes. Despite seven straight losing seasons, the Knicks are third overall at $4.6 billion, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees. The Lakers rank fourth at $4.4 billion and the Warriors are fifth at $4.3 billion.

Is James Wiseman A Fit For Warriors?

  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic takes a deep dive into James Wiseman‘s potential fit with the Warriors, pointing out that if Golden State does end up using its top-five pick this fall, it will represent an opportunity to secure a long-term building block — not just a role player who can fit in with the current core.