Whenever the NBA season officially concludes, the Warriors will enter a critical offseason in which they are expected to use the assets at their disposal to revamp the roster back to championship-contender status. However, with the uncertainty due to the coronavirus, it’s difficult to know when that process might begin.
It could be days, weeks or even months. So, rather than continuing to wait an indefinite amount of time for the NBA offseason to commence, Bleacher Report currently is simulating how it might proceed.
As part of the 2020 Bleacher Report NBA fantasy general manager league, 30 employees were selected to represent each of the NBA franchises for a week of trades leading up to a mock NBA draft. Bleacher Report’s Sean Jordan, a diehard Warriors fan, was chosen to be the GM for Golden State — the position Bob Myers holds in reality.
Jordan didn’t waste any time pulling off a major move befitting of the “Swindle God.” On Tuesday, he participated in a three-team trade in which the Warriors acquired Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
In my 1st move as GM of the Warriors in the B/R NBA Fantasy League, I used the trade exception from the Andre Iguodala trade to acquire Marcus Smart while moving down to 3rd overall in the draft. Pretty pumped about this. pic.twitter.com/tl31QGNIkB
— Sean Jordan (@BaySean) May 13, 2020
To complete the three-team trade, the Warriors absorbed Smart’s contract using the $17.2 million Andre Iguodala trade exception and sent both Jordan Poole and Golden State’s 2020 first-round draft pick (No. 1 overall) to the Atlanta Hawks. In addition to Smart, the Warriors also received the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2020 first-round draft pick (No. 3 overall), as well as a $2.1 million trade exception for jettisoning Poole.
So essentially, the Warriors traded Poole, the 2020 No. 1 overall pick and a massive trade exception for Smart, the 2020 No. 3 overall pick and a small trade exception.
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Talk about a swindle. Myers surely would be proud.
“I had my eyes on Marcus Smart from the beginning,” Jordan said once the deal was finalized.
Initially, Jordan planned to keep the Iguodala trade exception “in the holster,” but once Smart was made available, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“I love the small-ball lineup [with Smart],” Jordan told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously they’re going to score points with Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson], but they’ll be great defensively, too. Draymond [Green], Smart and Klay are three of the top 15 defenders in the league. That’s a pretty damn good start.”
Smart is regarded as one of the top on-ball defenders in the NBA, and his tenacity would fit in right alongside Green’s. He also would provide the Warriors with another sorely-needed ball-handler and distributor. Of course, it cost Golden State its own 2019 and 2020 first-round picks, but that was a price Jordan was willing to pay, mainly due to how he views the incoming draft class. In dropping back from the No. 1 overall pick to No. 3, the Warriors — in theory — could still land the best player in a draft that doesn’t yet have a consensus top prospect.
And as for Poole, well, Jordan wasn’t overly impressed with his rookie season.
“He looks like he should be a better shooter than he is,” Jordan said. “I wanted a better shooter than him, and I figured I could find that in this draft.”
Poole shot 33.3 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from 3-point range as a rookie, so Jordan’s reasoning appears valid. Not to mention, he added Smart, who, while not a prolific shooter, would still be an upgrade in that department.
From a value perspective, the Warriors made off like bandits in this trade. However, the financial component might prove to be a challenge moving forward. Smart has two years remaining on his contract and will carry an annual cap hit of approximately $14 million over that span. Consequently, Jordan and Golden State don’t have much remaining wiggle room.
“I’m completely hamstrung,” Jordan described with a chuckle. “I’m hard-capped. Who knew being a GM of a team with superstars would be hard to maneuver?”
Apparently, Jordan is encountering the same sort of trade environment Myers has been dealing with for the last few years — that being, his peers are reluctant to trade with him out of fear that the Warriors might add yet another superstar.
“Everyone is really hesitant to make a trade with me, because no one wants to trade with the Warriors,” Jordan said. “I tried to make offers for Giannis [Antetokounmpo], [Joel] Embiid … nothing. Totally ghosted.”
Smart might not be a superstar on the level of those players, but he’s no slouch himself. He immediately would become one of Golden State’s five best players on a team that would have to be considered among the top championship contenders in the league. Additionally, the Warriors would have the third overall pick in 2020, as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021 first-round pick, to further improve the roster.
And, it sounds like Jordan might not be done yet, no matter how reluctant his peers might be to engage him in trade discussions.
“I have hopefully one more trade up my sleeve,” he slyly hinted.
Let’s see if he can swindle that one, too.