The Golden State Warriors are gearing up for another title run. They traded Jordan Poole for Chris Paul this offseason and virtually ended the two-timeline plan. The Dubs are all in on now and trying to win their fifth championship in the last decade. CP3’s questionable fit could force things to head south quickly, but their dynasty is known for figuring things out.
Golden State is significantly over the second tax apron but still has a few holes to fill in their roster. They need Jonathan Kuminga to take a significant step forward. Dario Saric must be healthy and productive to round out their rotation. If not, Golden State needs another big man and has no options to turn to behind Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
They signed Rudy Gay, but he has not produced much in recent years. Relying on him seems like a mistake. How can the Dubs improve behind their two starters? A trade is the easiest route, but making the math work is difficult. Here are five possibilities that underscore how tough it will be for Golden State.
Gary Payton II is the Dubs’ most obvious matching salary when looking for a reserve big man. The defensive stopper is set to make $8.7 million this season and has a $9.1 million player option for the 2024-25 campaign. Payton II was a key part of the Dubs’ title run in 2022 but has struggled to stay healthy and find a consistent role throughout his career.
The addition of Chris Paul gives the Warriors some guard depth, and the Raptors need more options in the backcourt after losing Fred VanVleet in free agency. The Warriors would have to give up additional pieces to make the salary work, so here is one possibility that could happen on Dec. 15.
Boucher started his career in Golden State before signing with the Raptors. The 6’9 big man has never played more than 24.2 minutes per game but could protect the rim and clean the glass in a bench role in the Bay Area.
Joseph and Payton II offer guard depth for Toronto. The Raptors are at a crossroads, but this deal makes sense if they attempt to contend. The Warriors get their backup big man for two rotation pieces and a rookie who was just taken 57th overall in the draft. Golden State would only make this move if they were desperate for a big man. They value GPII highly, would have to sign a free agent and take on additional money, and are giving up three players for a backup big man.
The Dubs have other more realistic options, but it won’t be easy making the math work.
The Knicks are positioned to make a massive move and are waiting for the right superstar to hit the trade block. Joel Embiid is their ideal target, but acquiring any big man would give New York a bit of a logjam.
Hartenstein is a quality backup with a versatile skill set. He can protect the rim, rebound, make plays, and shoot threes. The seven-footer played a career-high 19.8 minutes per game last season, but the Dubs would certainly have interest. Here is a deal that could convince the Knicks to part with the big man if they have already upgraded at the five.
New York added Donte DiVincenzo this summer, but it is impossible to know who the Knicks would have to give up in a blockbuster deal. Assuming they kept Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, having a defensive stopper in the backcourt would be welcomed by head Tom Thibodeau. The Knicks also get Jackson-Davis, who was selected in the second round in 2023, with two second-rounders.
This is a hefty price for the Golden State Warriors to pay for a big man, but the Knicks are not accepting any other way. This deal centers on New York making a blockbuster move for a big man before the deadline and not sending out Isaiah Hartenstein in that package, which is a lot of ifs.
Golden State could go back to playing small in the playoffs. They do not want to use Draymond Green exclusively at the five, but it is a postseason option. The Dubs need size at forward to make it a reality, which could prompt them to trade for someone.
This deal hinges on Chris Paul’s fit in the Bay Area. The 12-time All-Star was traded to the Warriors this summer. Is he willing to come off the bench? Can CP3 fit into the Warriors’ offense? If not, the Dubs could move on before the deadline in a deal like this.
Spencer Dinwiddie is 6’5 and gives the Warriors more size and length if they decide to go small. Dorian Finney-Smith can play the four and even some small ball five. He is capable of switching onto the perimeter and increases the Warriors’ versatility on both ends of the floor.
The Nets need a point guard to run their offense. Chris Paul could give a significant boost to Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson as Brooklyn looks to make the playoffs. Moses Moody is a talented young wing who could help now and blossom into a future starter. The Nets also get two second-rounders to complete the transaction.
This would be the Golden State Warriors thinking outside the box, but it could be dangerous if Kevon Looney goes down. The Dubs would have to put Draymond Green on Nikola Jokic or any massive center in the playoffs, which creates problems.
The Wizards are embarking on a full-scale rebuild and did a shocking trade with the Warriors this summer. Jordan Poole is now the center of the offense in the nation’s capital. Washington is not trying to win this season, which likely puts any veteran player on the trade block.
Gafford is only 24 years old and under contract for three more years. It only makes sense to move him if the Wizards can get a young talent or draft picks to help their rebuild. Would the Dubs part with Jonathan Kuminga to make such a deal?
The expectations are raised for Kuminga this season. Can he meet them? If not, Golden State may look to move on at the deadline.
Daniel Gafford can protect the rim, but he is a traditional center. The Warriors could use him in the second unit to finish lobs from Chris Paul, and Gafford is another option to guard Nikola Jokic in the playoffs. The Dubs must take out the defending champions to win it all and need multiple looks to throw at the two-time MVP.
The Golden State Warriors have to give up Gary Payton II to make the math work, which likely makes this move a hard no. It is an option on the board for the talented big man, and there may only be one better available to them.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a logjam at the five. They gave up a ton to get Rudy Gobert in the summer of 2022 and already had Karl-Antony Towns and Naz Reid. The Wolves extended Reid on a three-year $41 million contract this offseason, and someone will be on the block before the deadline.
Reid is a versatile big man with value around the league. The 6’9 center is a career 34.4 percent 3-point shooter who is capable of blocking shots and getting buckets. He may struggle to stay on the floor in the postseason, but Reid gives the Warriors another talent big man at their disposal.
It is difficult for Golden State to acquire any player in this salary range. Dario Saric cannot be dealt until Dec. 15. The Dubs give up their 2023 first-round pick, two role players, and a second-rounder to land Reid. It is a hefty price for someone who has never played more than 20 minutes per game for an entire season.
The Golden State Warriors will struggle to solve their depth issues moving forward. The second tax apron only gets more restrictive, but the franchise is all-in on winning. Can they find a big man and make another deep run? Stay tuned and enjoy the ride.