August 8, 2022
In this proposed trade, the Golden State Warriors would be forced to trade this 23-year-old young star for a veteran shooter.

The Golden State Warriors are fresh off of their fourth championship in the last eight years. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have dominated the league, and from the looks of it, the next generation of Warriors could already be on the roster.

Players like Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and James Wiseman look primed to lead Golden State into the future once the old guard retires. However, while that sounds like a great idea in theory, the Warriors may not be able to make that happen.

Wiggins, Poole, Green, and Thompson are all due for an extension at the end of next season. But with how deep the Warriors are in the luxury tax, it’s unlikely that they are able to keep everyone. So, for the purpose of this idea, let’s say Poole is the one that ends up not getting re-signed. 

Here’s a potential sign-and-trade idea they could consider next summer:

Pacers receive: Poole

Warriors receive: Buddy Hield, 2026 1st-Round Pick (Top-20 Protected)

Most Warriors fans may scoff at the idea, but here’s why it could end up being realistic.

Warriors Will Have Very Little Leverage

The most important thing to note here is that the Warriors would have very little leverage in negotiations. Poole will be a free agent, and if the Warriors don’t want to pay him, he’ll be free to sign wherever he wants. In turn, Golden State would be forced to take whatever deal came their way. He’ll be restricted, but again, it would come down to whether or not Golden State would be willing to pay him.

Indiana is in the beginning stages of a rebuild, but they’ve already shown the willingness to spend money. They gave Deandre Ayton a max offer sheet this summer, but the Phoenix Suns matched it. If they did the same with Poole next summer, they could potentially create a starting backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and Poole to lead them into the future.

It’s entirely possible that the Pacers simply have enough money to sign Poole and decide not to engage in sign-and-trade talks. However, if Indiana wanted to lighten the load on their books, sending a contract to the Warriors could help them out.

So, if Hield doesn’t end up being traded this summer, the Pacers could look to sweeten the deal and ensure that Golden State doesn’t match. Or, at the very least, they could just send Hield to the Warriors to dump his contract.

For the Warriors, getting anything back for a player they don’t want to pay should be considered a win. In the case of Hield, he certainly doesn’t have the same flashy style as Poole, nor the potential, but he’s a solid three-point shooter that could fit into their system, and he’ll be on the last year of his deal.

And while the Warriors could easily choose to keep Poole over Wiggins, one Warriors writer believes otherwise.

Poole Could Be the ‘Odd Man Out’

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the Warriors could be more likely to prioritize Wiggins over Poole because of how valuable wings are in today’s NBA.

“Before making such an important decision, the Warriors would be wise to see how both players progress over the next 12 months,” Letourneau wrote. “But right now, given all the information available, Poole seems to have the higher chance of being the odd man out. The reason is simple: Two-way wings like Wiggins are harder to find than score-first shooting guards like Poole.”

Golden State could potentially choose to pay both Poole and Wiggins, but then they’d be inching toward spending half a billion dollars on the team. That’s excessive. And when it comes down to it, exploring sign-and-trade opportunities for one of the two may be a necessary evil.

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