The 2022-23 NBA season is cruising right along, and as we near the midway point of the season, the 2023 NBA trade deadline is beginning to draw near. Many teams are going to be looking to make some upgrades in their efforts to pursue a title this season, and one such team who could end up being part of that group of contenders looking to be active on the trade market is the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors are looking to repeat as champions after winning the 2022 NBA Finals, but their quest has gotten off to quite a rocky start. They have begun to figure things out after a very slow start, and their 20-18 record is OK, but that’s only good for ninth place in the crowded Western Conference right now, and they are going to have to figure out how to continue moving forward with Stephen Curry on the sidelines.
Even when Curry returns, this team is going to need to make some upgrades to their current roster, and the NBA trade deadline is a perfect avenue for them to make those upgrades. So with the deadline closing in, let’s take a look at two of the best trades the Warriors need to make if they truly want to contend for a title this season.
2. Warriors trade for jakob poeltl using a package centered around James Wiseman
Easily the biggest hole on the Warriors roster right now is their big name rotation. They managed to get through the playoffs last season with Kevon Looney as their primary center, and while he’s a solid player, he’s better suited to be coming off the bench for them. But once again, he’s been forced into a starting role for Golden State this season.
That’s because 2020 second overall pick James Wiseman has failed to truly pan out for the Warriors this season. Wiseman missed the entire 2021-22 season with a knee injury, but he’s spent most of the current campaign bouncing back and forth between the NBA and the G League, and even when he has played for Golden State, he hasn’t been very effective.
Wiseman obviously has tons of potential, but it’s beginning to become clear the Warriors are going to have to upgrade their big man rotation if they want to win a title this season. That could lead them to pursue Jakob Poeltl of the San Antonio Spurs, who would be exactly what the Warriors are looking to add to their rotation.
Poeltl has been his usual steady presence on both ends of the court for the rebuilding Spurs this season (12.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, 64.6 FG%) and while he’s not the flashiest player around, he typically finds a way to make an impact. Poeltl would be a big help on the glass for Golden State, while also offering them a paint presence on both sides of the court that they don’t really possess right now.
Creating a trade package for Poeltl based around Wiseman and maybe a draft pick or two could be enough to convince the Spurs to move on from him. San Antonio will likely be looking to move Poeltl at or before the deadline, so there could be some competition for his services, but a young prospect like Wiseman may be enough to help the Warriors persuade the Spurs to sign off on this deal.
1. Warriors use their 2023 first-round pick to acquire Kyle Kuzma
On the other hand, the Warriors likely need another solid secondary source of scoring behind Curry when he returns to the court from his shoulder injury. They have solid players in Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Jordan Poole who can all get buckets, but none of them were able to take the scoring burden off Curry’s shoulders to open the season.
Poole and Thompson have stepped up with Curry on the sidelines, but will that continue when he returns? In order to protect themselves it would make a lot of sense to add another offensive-minded wing in Kyle Kuzma, who will almost certainly be on the trade market as the Washington Wizards continue to struggle.
Kuzma is having a really strong season for the Wizards (21.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 46.5 FG%) and would be another option that could open up the Warriors offense. He’s also a solid defender on the wing too, which is a big need for Golden State after they lost Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. over the offseason.
Kuzma could cost a bit more considering how good he has looked for the Wizards this season, but the Warriors 2023 first-round pick could be a good starting point for the Warriors to make this move. They could throw another pick or young player in as well, but Kuzma would certainly fill a couple of big needs for Golden State, and this is a deal that would certainly help them out this season and potentially beyond it as well.