Why the Warriors are trading Andrew Wiggins this Summer, and the top 10 possible destinations for him

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Earlier this month, the Golden State Warriors decided to trade D’Angelo Russell along with Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to the Minnesota Timberwolves for: Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 protected first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick. It was Essentially a Russell for Wiggins swap, while former first round pick Jacob Evans was swapped for a protected 2021 first-round pick, and former #30 overall selection Omari Spellman was swapped for a 2021 second-round pick. Everyone expected this trade to happen. We knew Russell wasn’t going to be a Warrior for long, and we knew Minnesota wasn’t done trying to acquire D’Angelo Russell to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns. What we didn’t necessarily expect was for Andrew Wiggins to end up in a Warriors uniform.

Personally, I don’t expect Wiggins to stay in a Warriors uniform all that long. When asked about the Warriors acquisition of Wiggins, Steve Kerr spoke on how he gives the team someone who can defend Lebron, and at least match up physically with him. This is a bit of wishful thinking by Steve Kerr, considering Wiggins is 6’7″ tall and weighs 202 lbs while Lebron is 6’9″ and 250lbs. Wiggins has also never been known as a great defender in the NBA so that “fit” isn’t there. The Warriors have had a glaring hole at small forward ever since Kevin Durant went to the Nets and the Warriors moved on from Andre Iguodala, so at first glance Wiggins might look like a solution to that problem, but he isn’t. Wiggins is a very athletic, high flying, volume scorer who doesn’t shoot the three ball well and isn’t a great defender. That’s not what the Warriors need next season to pair with the splash brothers in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Instead what they really need is an elite wing defender that they can put on guys like Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. That could have been Robert Covington, he would have been a great fit to pair with Draymond Green at the Warriors two forward positions, but that didn’t happen. Instead Covington ended up a Houston Rocket and is no longer an option.

Another glaring issue that the Warriors are presented with is the fact that Andrew Wiggins is not on a pretty contract. He is owed $29,290,000 next season. The Warriors will already owe Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green a combined $100,614,678 next season. That’s three players who together cost over $100 million dollars. NBA rosters usually have 14 to 15 players on their roster plus one or two players on two-way contracts. Teams are always required to have at least 13 players on their roster. When adding in the figure on what Andrew Wiggins is owed next season to what they will already owe Curry, Thompson and Green the Warriors would be paying four players $129,904,678. It has already been reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that the salary cap for the 2020-2021 NBA season will be an estimated $115 million. So according to that the Warriors will already be $14,904,678 over the salary cap with just four players on their roster. When you add in the salary of the other players under contract for the 2020-2021 NBA season the Golden State Warriors total cap number amounts to $145,775,367.

The Luxury-tax threshold is expected to be at about $139 million next season. So, the Warriors are already $6.7 million over the Luxury-tax threshold with only 11 players on their roster. Then you factor in that the Warriors right now have the worst record in the NBA, so for now, we’ll presume they win the NBA Lottery and are awarded the #1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. That player would be owed around $8,567,800 in his first season. So, we can add that figure into their total cap number. The Warriors will most likely also possess the #31 overall pick in the NBA draft, and for simplicity sake we’ll just say he get an even $1 million. So, the cap figure with 13 players on the roster would now be around $155,343,167. Then you must figure in if the Warriors sign anyone with the mid-level or bi-annual exception this summer, plus any two-way contracts. This means the warriors will be at-least $16 Million over the Luxury-tax threshold.

I’m not going to do the math on that, but it means the Warriors would be paying a LOT in luxury tax fines. So how do they solve this problem you ask? Well, if they can trade Wiggins this summer for multiple contracts that match up with his salary it would decrease the Warriors total salary. If they can also trade Wiggins for multiple players and have the total salary of those incoming players be less than what Wiggins is owed next season it would help them reduce the team salary even further.

Here are some realistic trade destinations that I could see Wiggins getting traded to this summer:

I will start with trades that could happen, but that I don’t think are very likely to happen and work my way to the last potential trade which I believe is the most likely landing spot.

10. Philadelphia 76ers-Al Horford to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins

I don’t think this trade will happen, but it would be an intriguing move for both teams. The Warriors would get a true starting center that would fit in great with what they want to do next season. His ability to defend guys like Joel Embiid would come in handy. He also provides as a great passing big man who can shoot the 3-ball. His 3P% (three-point percentage) is down to 32.7% this season but in the Warriors offense I think that percentage would jump back up to around a 35-36% average. The Warriors would save $1.79 Million in team payroll and probably another $3 Million in luxury tax fines if they made this trade. As for the 76ers and whether this trade makes sense for them, I don’t think Al Horford is a good fit for what they are trying to do. Tobias Harris would get to slide back to his more natural PF position and Wiggins would slot in at the SF. Ultimately I don’t see this trade happening because it doesn’t help the 76ers solve their biggest issue which is floor spacing and the ability to shoot from outside.

9. Orlando Magic-trade Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins.

This is a trade that I don’t see happening unless the Orlando Magic decide to rebuild their roster. If the Orlando Magic did decide to rebuild, Wiggins would provide them with a player who can consistently score 20+ points a night. That is something the Magic have been lacking for years. They have not had a player average 20+ points in a season for two or more consecutive years since Dwight Howard’s last two seasons on the Orlando Magic. The Magic would get to try and continue to develop Andrew Wiggins into the All-Star caliber player he has the potential to be. In return the Warriors would be getting two solid wing players, including a player in Fournier who is averaging 40.8% on 3PT attempts this season.

8. San Antonio Spurs-Wiggins to the Spurs, DeRozan to a 3 team, players to Warriors TBD

In this scenario the SAS would be sending out DeMar DeRozan’s contract. Whether that is on the $27.7 million player option he has next season, or via a sign and trade. He is the player I am assuming is traded by the Spurs in this scenario that would send Andrew Wiggins to the San Antonio. I don’t think DeRozan fits with the Warriors, and what they do offensively so the Spurs would need to find a third team to make this trade work. Because of that I don’t see this scenario as being very likely. The Spurs could always offer LaMarcus Aldridge for Wiggins, but that seems to me an even more unlikely scenario. If the Spurs were to find a team that is interested in a sign and trade for DeMar DeRozan this summer, then I could see a deal like this heating up quickly.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers-The Cavs send Larry Nance, Dante Exum, and Cedi Osman to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins.

This is one more scenario that I wouldn’t place much stock on but would be an interesting move. The Warriors would add a lot of depth to a team that only has 11 players signed to contracts next season. This trade would boost that number to 13 players under contract and only add $769,091 to the team payroll next season. That would be less than what a rookie would cost at the league minimum next season. The Cavs would add Wiggins to their core of young guards in Colin Sexton and Darius Garland. Their starting lineup would shake out as:

PG Darius Garland SG Colin Sexton SF Andrew Wiggins PF Kevin Love C Andre Drummond

That may not be enough to be a real contender in the Eastern Conference but might at least give them a chance to compete for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs next season.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder-Steve Adams and Abdel Nader to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins

This is a trade that I think could happen, it’s not my favorite option, but both sides could be interested in a trade like this. The Warriors would finally solidify their starting center position. A position that has been a revolving door since Warriors traded Andrew Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks in 2016. The rebuilding (or retooling) Thunder, however you want to look at it, would get a solid young player to go with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. This would give the Thunder two players they can build their franchise around for the foreseeable future. The contracts in this potential trade add to be almost exactly the same, the Warriors would save $8,960 in this trade, whiling increasing the number of players under contract from 11 to 12.

5. Detroit Pistons-trade Derrick Rose, Tony Snell, and sign & trade Langston Galloway or John Henson to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins.

The Detroit Pistons are an absolute (insert poop emoji) show right now and need to hit the reset button. They look like one of those old computers frozen on the reboot screen. They just traded an All-Star center for a bag of rocks. They literally just traded him to ensure that they wouldn’t have to pay him the $28.75 million dollar player option he has for next season. The Pistons didn’t even get a first-round pick in return for him. I gave that trade an F- when it happened just in case you’re wondering. If the Detroit Pistons do go out and trade for Andrew Wiggins this summer, he won’t be the savior of your franchise, that’s something I’m not even sure Lebron or Giannis could do right now, but he would at least give you a talented young player to build around while this organization figures out what the heck it’s doing. As for the Warriors they would get back in return a solid wing defender in Tony Snell who is shooting an outstanding 41.2% from 3-PT range this season. They would get a sixth man who can lead the second team in Derrick Rose, and they would acquire one more role player in either Galloway or Henson.

4. Charlotte Hornets-trade Nicolas Batum & Miles Bridges to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins

This trade might not be that exciting, but it would at least give the Warriors a solid wing defender, and another wing that they can try and develop. This trade, while adding to the number of players under contract next season, would increase their team payroll by $1,774,754 so this trade probably isn’t as likely as some of the others. What I find interesting about this trade scenario is if Michael Jordan was the one pulling the trigger on this trade, because it would mean he believes he can help Wiggins reach the potential that so many people believe he has, but that he has yet to achieve.

3. Chicago Bulls-trade Thaddeus Young, Tomáš Sotoranský, and Cristiano Felício to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins

This trade might not be all that realistic, considering the Bulls already have Otto Porter, but there is the always the possibility that he opts out of his player option for the 2020-2021 season and becomes a free agent this summer. I would love to see this trade happen for one reason and one reason only. Zach Lavine has a 46-inch vertical, and Andrew Wiggins has a 44-inch vertical. They can spend each game of the NBA season having dunk contests whenever they get a break away layup. Who needs lob city when you have two guys that can produce highlight dunks at any given moment? In return the Warriors add a ton of depth to their team. No one player who will make their team great, but three solid role players that can help them pursue a championship.

2. New York Knicks-send Julius Randle and sign & trade Maurice Harkless to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins.

The New York Knicks have a plethora of big men on their roster and aren’t even currently starting their talented, young, 21-year-old center Mitchell Robinson. The Knicks are also in a rebuilding phase. Something they’ve been stuck in since they lost to the Celtics in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs. This past year they drafted R.J. Barrett 3rd overall as a player to build around after their hopes of putting Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson together (or trading the Zion pick for Anthony Davis to put him with KD & Kyrie) never came to be. If the Knicks want to keep building up their team, adding a guy like Wiggins to put next to RJ Barrett at the wing spots wouldn’t be a bad move. The Knicks have a nice group of young players in RJ, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith. Andrew Wiggins could slide in and provide another nice young player to build around, who would most likely be the teams leading scorer next season. Providing those poor loyal Knicks fans with at least a little more of a reason to be excited to go to a Knicks game, where they can enjoy watching one of their players, and not just one of the players visiting the arena from another city.

1. Sacramento Kings-send Harrison Barnes and either Nemanja Bjelica, Jabari Parker or Richaun Holmes to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins.

This is my favorite trade for one reason: it would re-unite Harrison Barnes with the Golden State Warriors. The only reason the Warriors parted ways with Harrison Barnes was so that they could acquire Kevin Durant, to hopefully be able to beat the Cavs when they weren’t down two All-Stars in the NBA Finals. Now that Durant has moved on to the Brooklyn Nets it’s time to get Barnes back into a Warriors uniform. I think most Warriors fans would love to see this reunion and I’m sure Barnes would like to be competing for championships again. In this trade scenario the Warriors would also get a nice role player off the bench. As for the Kings I think Wiggins is an upgrade for them. He’s three years younger than Barnes, and even though he’s probably not as good a defender as Barnes, he provides more scoring for the Kings, who have been reliant on Fox and Hield for the majority of their scoring the last couple years.

This concludes my article on the trade destinations for Andrew Wiggins this summer, let me know what you think of these trades in the comments section of this article. I would love to hear if there is a different trade you would like to see happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: