The defending champion Golden State Warriors saw their repeat bid come to a bitter end Friday evening. They were bested by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals by a final score of 122-101. Despite the club’s claim to dynastic status, there are those who believe that Bob Myers and company could be looking to make some serious roster tweaks this offseason, and perhaps one of the most buzzed-about rumblings is the possibility of seeing a Jordan Poole trade.
Some in the know believe “it’s more likely than not” that moving on from the fourth-year guard will be at the very least considered by the franchise this coming offseason, as per The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami.
Should this happen, despite his recent shortcomings in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, he’s destined to draw considerable interest from ball clubs across the association looking to add some extra firepower to their rotation.
With this in mind, if Jordan Poole were to be placed on the block, there are three teams, in particular, that should strongly consider pursuing him.
The Orlando Magic currently find themselves searching for two things: Extra guard talent and a way to sell tickets heading into 2023-24.
Making a splashy trade for Jordan Poole could wind up accomplishing both.
The Magic may be chock full of solid young players like Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., and this season’s Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, but all these aforementioned names reside within the club’s frontcourt rotation.
Despite their best efforts over the years, Orlando’s backcourt depth is severely lacking when it comes to any semblance of competent play. Considering the modern-day NBA is a guard-driven league, this should be viewed as a serious issue.
Adding an established 20+ point-per-game scorer and a key member of the Warriors’ latest championship run whose still in his early 20s could easily be enticing enough reasoning to pursue a deal for the likes of Jordan Poole this summer.
Considering their current assortment of draft capital coupled with their collection of both raw (Jalen Suggs) and established (Gary Harris) contributors, it shouldn’t be all that hard for the Magic to make a deal worth Golden State’s while.
The Chicago Bulls have been in the news of late what with the buzz suggesting they’re looking to make some offseason splashes to better bolster the talent surrounding star centerpiece Zach LaVine.
Though there have been rumblings stating that they could be willing to move on from the guard’s co-star DeMar DeRozan to make this happen, buying low on a trade for Jordan Poole could have the potential to accomplish their aforementioned goal whilst holding onto the six-time All-Star wing along the way.
The Bulls struggled in many areas throughout the 2022-23 campaign, but perhaps most surprising was their turnout in the points-per-game department, where they ranked ninth-worst (113.1) in the association. Jordan Poole may have his faults, but easily his best on-court attribute is his ability to put the ball in the basket.
Over the last three campaigns, the 23-year-old has posted impressive averages of 17.7 points per game on 35.0% shooting from distance. Even during his down year this past season, Poole still went on to finish things out with a career-high 20.4 points per game.
While his defensive lapses are certainly not ideal, over the years the Warriors have managed to mask his shortcomings on this end of the floor. Considering the Bulls under head coach Billy Donovan just ranked fifth in the league in defensive rating, it’s safe to assume that if Jordan Poole were to come aboard they, too, could get the most out of his offensive excellence while working around his inabilities on the less glamorous side of the ball.
Despite having just finished with the fifth-worst record in franchise history of 22-60, with their decision to hire Ime Udoka to serve as their new head coach, one could make the assumption that the Houston Rockets are looking to start building something respectable down in Space City.
Even during the glory days back in the 1990s with Hakeem Olajuwon or even during the promising mid-to-late 2010s with James Harden, the Rockets have never proven to be a desired destination for top-billed talents.
With this, one should expect the front office to look toward the trade market should they consider bringing on some fresh, high-potential faces into the mix, and a buy-low pursuit of Jordan Poole could be a solid first move for this culture-shifting team to make.
To be frank, Houston could use a bit of everything as they head into 2023-24, but perhaps their most polarizing desire is to find a “face of the franchise” type of player. Be it for just the short-term or the long haul, Poole could be the kind of player worth this team taking a swing at.
Though predominantly used as a high-end sixth-man accessory within the Warriors rotation throughout his NBA tenure, time and time again the fourth-year guard has managed to absolutely shine when given the keys to a starting spot, and this certainly rang true even during his “down” 2022-23 campaign.
In 43 starts during the season, Jordan Poole found himself posting impressive per-game averages of 24.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.1 rebounds while boasting a true shooting percentage of 57.8%.
For his career, he finds himself sporting averages of 21.3 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.2 rebounds when found in the starting rotation.
Adding this type of production to a bottom-feeder team like Houston could be a move well worth making. What with the fact that there are astonishingly low expectations for the franchise in the near future, the guard would have little pressure on his shoulders which, in turn, could end up helping him get back on track after being engulfed within such a high-stakes environment this past year while with Golden State.