What can Warriors actually get for James Wiseman and lottery picks? Here are realistic trade ideas.


The Golden State Warriors are trying to figure out a solution to a tricky conundrum: What’s a team to do with a talented young big man and two valuable draft picks alongside an aging roster of stars?

There are two ways they can go: Keep the talented big man (aka James Wiseman) and hope he grows into a star himself while also adding two more rookies who might be able to provide some depth or package Wiseman with pick Nos. 7 and/or 14 and acquire a veteran who’d immediately put Golden State back in contention for a title. Route one is risky because Wiseman isn’t a sure thing to morph into an impact player this coming season, and the other rookies Golden State adds will be far from sure things. (Rookies are almost always net-negative players.) Route two is risky because Wiseman still has a chance to be really good — giving him up with one or two lottery picks is punting on any sort of long-term contingency plan.

There’s another strange-but-true risk to a Wiseman trade. Since Wiseman is on a rookie deal, his salary doesn’t come close to matching the salaries of stars on other teams. Which means the Warriors would have to trade another big contract. You know where this is going: Andrew Wiggins is a near-certainty to get paired up with Wiseman. And Wiggins, for his many faults, had a career year in 2020-21, averaging 18.6 points on 48% shooting (including 38% from 3-point range). He’s a top candidate to regress next season, but it’s at least worth noting that if you’re trading Wiseman and the team’s only currently healthy swingman, you need to get back an all-star.

This week, rumblings have picked up that the Dubs are indeed serious about a trade. Below, we’ve consolidated the rumors that have emerged from NBA insiders with a few other bonus ideas for general manager Bob Myers to consider.

Toronto Raptors trade

So far, two big trade targets have bounced around the internet, both courtesy of The Athletic’s John Hollinger.

The first feels the most realistic, if a little underwhelming. Hollinger says there’s a “widespread expectation that the Warriors will use No. 7 and [James] Wiseman, in particular, to seek more immediate upgrades to the roster,” and singled out Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam as one such target. Siakam, 27, was an All-Star starter in 2019-20, the year after the Raptors beat the Warriors in the NBA Finals. But this season, his 3-point percentage dipped from 36% to an abysmal 30%, and Toronto stunk. He still averaged 21 points per game and seems to be settling into the fringe All-Star territory of NBA tiers. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but is it worth doing a trade like the one below?

Warriors receive: Pascal Siakam

Raptors receive: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, No. 7 pick

If the Raptors are planning on starting over and letting Kyle Lowry walk, then this is a pretty good haul for them. The question is whether the Dubs would be overextending themselves. I kinda think they would be. One other possibility that’d be a little more balanced for both sides:

Warriors receive: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher

Raptors receive: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, No. 7 pick, No. 14 pick, lottery-protected future first-round pick

In this scenario, Golden State also gets Boucher — a 28-year-old big man coming off a career year (13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks per game) — basically in exchange for pick No. 14 and a heavily protected future first-round pick. The Raptors wouldn’t do that straight-up — but in tandem with the rest of that deal, which skews in favor of Toronto, maybe it’d satisfy all parties involved.

Portland Trail Blazers trade

Hollinger also wrote this week that the Warriors can probably put together the most enticing package for superstar guard Damian Lillard, who is currently making up reasons about why he wants to leave Portland. 

“Golden State has enough interesting pieces to actually make this plausible,” Hollinger said. “They have a matching contract in Andrew Wiggins, plus the kind of juicy young assets (last year’s No. 2 pick James Wiseman, this year’s No. 7 pick and No. 14 pick and at least two of their own future firsts that can be part of any deal) that are tough for any of the teams listed above to contend with.”

He continues, “Imagine this dream scenario for Golden State: Lillard and Nurkic to the Warriors for Wiggins, Wiseman, Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall, picks 7 and 14 in 2021 and the Warriors’ first-round picks in 2022 and 2026.”

The downside to this trade, besides Curry and Lillard being an atrocious defensive backcourt (though that obviously wouldn’t matter too much) is the Dubs would have basically zero roster flexibility for years to come. They’d be able to bring on some veteran-minimum guys, maybe one decent role player per offseason, but that’s it. I wonder if it’d be better for them to avoid the Nurkic part of the swap and focus on something a little more narrow, like:

Warriors receive: Damian Lillard

Blazers receive: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, No. 7 pick, No. 14 pick, Warriors’ unprotected pick in 2022, top-three protected pick in 2026

That allows the Warriors to have something resembling a bench next season, and if you’re the Blazers, you’re basically getting three lottery picks (including Wiseman), a likely late first-round pick next year, and a future pick that could end up being anything for Lillard. And Wiggins’ massive contract expires in two years, when the Blazers will have presumably retooled their roster and could factor into free agency again.

Of course, if the Blazers blow things up and trade Lillard away to another team, the Warriors could also inquire about C.J. McCollum, who’d probably require Wiggins and Wiseman and a single lottery pick, but far less draft assets overall. 

Anybody else?

There are always surprise names that emerge, but as I see it, not really. The Ben Simmons-to-Golden State rumors don’t make any sense; you can’t lose Wiggins, a legitimately solid 3-point shooter, and swap him in for another guy who absolutely cannot shoot and doesn’t like playing at the center position. Plus, the 76ers absolutely do not need Wiseman.

Separately, I don’t see the Wizards kicking up any Bradley Beal offers this offseason. They’re stuck with Russell Westbrook, and they have no incentive to tear down the foundation of their roster and trade away Beal when they won’t be able to fully tank so long as Westbrook is playing. 

A few other players that have been speculated about aren’t nearly enough of an upgrade, especially Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks.

Who’s left? One team with too many above-average players are the Indiana Pacers, stuck in Eastern Conference purgatory. If the Pacers lock onto a prospect that they think has star potential at the No. 7 slot, perhaps the Warriors could package the pick with Wiggins — who’d still be useful-ish for Indiana — and grab some less flashy depth while keeping Wiseman. Like:

Warriors receive: T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday

Pacers receive: Andrew Wiggins, No. 7 pick

The Sacramento Kings are in a similar spot to the Pacers — they too could entice the Warriors with some useful role players (Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, Richaun Holmes, Delon Wright) if they decided to start over for the umpteenth time. That seems unlikely, though. 

Which is maybe the biggest takeaway from looking over the rosters of all 30 teams. Very few have significant roster flexibility this offseason, and most of them (except the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets) aren’t in full-on tank mode. Between now and the draft July 29, a new suitor will have to emerge as ready to tank for the Dubs to feel comfortable parting with Wiseman. Otherwise, their realistic options really do look to be what Hollinger suggested: the Raptors and the Blazers.