The Golden State Warriors just missed their shot at making the playoffs due to play-in game losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. Despite heroic MVP performances by their superstar Stephen Curry all season long, the franchise was lacking in depth and talent. Looking ahead to next season, that will not be the case.
Klay Thompson is expected to be back which means the original trio of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green will be reunited at full health. As great as that trio has been over the past few years, they need one more piece to overcome the likes of the Lakers, Suns, Nets, and Bucks to become the favorites in the title race. By acquiring one of these 5 superstar players, the Warriors are back in the mix with a chance to win their 4th title under the “Stephen Curry” era. By offering a package centered around the No. 7 Pick, No. 14 Pick, James Wiseman, and Andrew Wiggins; here is who the Warriors can trade for.
5. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the game, even if he looked burned out during this season’s playoffs. The Heat were dismantled by the Bucks in 4 games in a rather embarrassing fashion, proving that last year’s “Bubble” run was a fluke. But knowing Butler, he will be working hard this offseason and is hungrier than ever for a championship.
That also means he wants to win now. Butler is almost 32 years old and father time is not too kind to players who play as hard as the 5-time All-Star does on defense. Butler could become disinterested in playing for Miami, and if the Heat are forced into an immediate rebuild, 2 first-round picks and James Wiseman is the best possible way to gain a return for their franchise star.
4. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns is on a miserable team right now, with the Minnesota Timberwolves out of any playoff contention as things stand. For a player with his talents, Towns should not accept losing as the norm. Rather, he should force Minnesota to trade him to a contender and start their rebuild process. The Golden State Warriors is the perfect place for Minnesota to receive talent and picks, and also for Towns to prosper.
A Big Four with Towns in Golden State means the Warriors are the best team in the NBA, even ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. Towns can play inside and out, something the Nets lack. Curry and Thompson spacing the floor gives the big man room to dominate, while Green can return to his Defensive Player of the Year role as a stopper.
3. Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid showed up in the playoffs this year, averaging 28.1 PPG and 10.5 RPG while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. But that is not good enough, especially considering that Embiid has yet to play in an NBA Finals. The 76ers have tried to build a contender with the likes of Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris on the roster, but it might never work.
With Embiid hungry for a title considering his never-ending injury concerns, he might want to win next season. Philadelphia can begin their rebuild with Wiseman at center while 2 picks give the franchise solid young prospects from the draft. Embiid and Curry could be the best guard-center duo since Kobe and Shaq, while Klay Thompson completes the best half-court trio in the NBA.
2. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard with the Golden State Warriors would be so incredible to watch. Lillard is regarded as the direct rival to Stephen Curry since both players are by far the best point guards in the game and have an unlimited shooting range. Seeing Lillard and Curry pull up for 35 feet would be the most interesting storyline in the league. Adding Klay in there would give a reincarnation of the “Splash Brothers” trio with Lillard replacing Kevin Durant.
Portland fans would writhe in pain if this deal ever happened, but if Lillard forces a trade, Portland needs to do what is best for their franchise. Starting center Jusuf Nurkic is likely out the door this offseason, Wiseman can come in for the immediate rebuild. Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors can rejoice because they will have arguably the 3 best shot-makers in the NBA in their backcourt.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
If the Milwaukee Bucks do not win the championship this year, Giannis could be the next superstar to force a trade. We saw how a star like Anthony Davis forcing a trade worked in his favor, and Giannis could be tempted to do the same. No franchise fits his skillset like the Warriors, where they will employ him as a small-ball defensive stopper and all-around offensive force. Giannis and Green could be the best defensive duo in the league, while they can both run the floor and set up their shooters.
As dominant as Durant was with Curry and Klay, Giannis could be even more so. Giannis is incredibly long and athletic, meaning he can handle the defensive responsibilities in the paint. He is also proficient around the rim, and even if he won’t be the third Splash Brother, he would create the best team in the NBA by going to Golden State. All eyes are on this year’s NBA Finals because if Giannis does not get it done in Milwaukee, we could be seeing yet another superteam in due time.