The Lakers are now NBA champions after defeating Miami in six games, and teams around the league will look to make roster moves this offseason to topple the elite duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
One of the potential contenders next year should be Golden State, a team that suffered injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for almost the entirety of this season in addition to losing Kevin Durant to Brooklyn.
The Warriors may think getting those two stars back to join the rest of their roster is enough to defeat the likely champion Lakers, but if they have the opportunity to trade for a third star, they may pull the trigger to form a big-three.
Here are three potential trades the team could make to acquire a third star, all of which would likely make them the title favorites heading into next season.
Splash Brothers 3.0
Trade Package: Andrew Wiggins, 2020 No. 2 pick for Brandon Ingram
This is the easiest trade to pull off for the Warriors of the three outlined here. Brandon Ingram won the league Most Improved Player award this season after increasing his averages to 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, according to basketball-reference. Leaving L.A. for New Orleans appeared to be the change Ingram needed to take the next step in his career, and it worked as he made his first All-Star team.
The Pelicans may want to enter rebuilding mode next year, however, as the team often looked disjointed throughout the season, particularly in the bubble, which led to the firing of former head coach Alvin Gentry. If that is indeed the case, Ingram is the team’s most valuable trade asset — aside from the untradable Zion Williamson — so New Orleans could get good pieces in return for Ingram to build a future contender.
The package above would likely be enough, and it would be a win-win for both franchises. Ingram joining the warriors would give the team a wing dynamic similar to Durant, but one not as elite. Still, Durant alongside Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green worked to perfection, so there’s no reason to think the inclusion of Ingram would make the team significantly more dangerous offensively.
Warriors Superteam 2.0
Trade package: Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Eric Paschall, 2020 No. 2 overall pick, Timberwolves 2021 first-round pick for Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris
This trade is a blockbuster and would probably only be possible if the 76ers decide the tandem of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can’t coexist. Embiid is arguably the second-best center in the NBA and a player capable of dominating anyone on a given night, but his fit on the spaceless 76ers was anything but seamless this past year.
Adding Embiid to the nucleus of Curry and Thompson would give the Warriors an interior presence they’ve never had during the Splash Brothers’ era. The team’s superior spacing would allow Embiid to flourish in the post and open up more open looks for Curry and Thompson. Embiid’s also an improving passer and great defender (when in shape and motivated), so he wouldn’t be your typical post-scoring ball-stopper either.
Philadelphia would need to add Harris in the trade to make the money work, which would also give them cap flexibility moving forward, and his 3-point prowess and ability to play power forward would fit nicely next to this new big-three. He’d be an absurdly overpaid fourth-option, yet these four mesh better than what the 76ers currently have, so Harris might also find new life in this system.
Warriors Superteam 3.0
Trade package: Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Eric Paschall, 2020 No. 2 overall pick, Timberwolves 2021 first-round pick for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, George Hill and D.J. Wilson
It was abundantly clear that the Bucks have some issues to resolve this offseason following another disappointing playoff outing. Giannis Antetokounmpo says that he’s still committed to Milwaukee for next season, but if the last few NBA seasons are any indication, nothing is set in stone.
Should Antetokounmpo want out of Milwaukee, the Warriors are one of the few teams with the assets to trade for him. Especially if he explicitly says he wants out, his price would likely go down and Golden State would just have to out-bid other teams. The package above is pretty hefty, and since the Timberwolves likely won’t make the playoffs next year, their pick will be in the lottery.
With Antetokounmpo alongside two of the greatest shooters of all time, the Warriors would be the clear championship favorites. Their defense would also receive a significant boost, as would their ability to fastbreak and secure rebounds. Fans may not like another superteam, but with the league’s ratings dropping over the last few years, a compelling roster might help casual fans tune-in to watch some of the best basketball ever played.