Sports

BREAKING NEWS: Warriors’ “Blow It Up” Trade Offer Includes $215 Million Reserved For Wiggins Package

The Warriors rebounded nicely after a rough start to their 2024 NBA offseason, but as they assess where they are, they’re faced with the reality that in about 10 months, they’re likely to be out of the NBA playoffs following a first-round departure. It’s a deep and versatile roster for the Dubs, but it is clearly not a contender, and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs is this group’s ceiling.

What to do?

The Warriors could play it out and hope that a surprise breakout year from Jonathan Kuminga—who showed signs of putting together his star-level talent last season—or another young player might be enough to push them toward the top of the Western Conference. No doubt, the team needs a strong No. 2 for Steph Curry, and there’s no sign of such a player on the roster now, except a leap forward from Kuminga.

Or they could make a trade and guarantee a No. 2 star. They are, at least, trying to make that happen. The Warriors have been in pursuit of Jazz star Lauri Markkanen, and it might be prudent for them to wait out Utah and see if a deal materializes there. But Utah increasingly looks ready to hold onto Markkanen.

Maybe, then, it’s time to flip back to an earlier option, one that can be had on the cheap because of concerns over injuries, defense, and (most of all) salary: Bulls wing Zach LaVine.

Zach LaVine Hindered by Injury, Contract

That’s the premise from Bleacher Report writer Andy Bailey, who outlines some scenarios for potential rebuilding teams to ensure they reach for the bottom in 2024-25 when star collegiate forward Cooper Flagg is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

In an article titled, “Trade Packages for NBA Teams to Blow It Up, Enter Cooper Flagg Draft Sweepstakes,” Bailey proposes a deal that would send off three Warriors to Chicago:

Zach LaVine and two second-round picks for Andrew Wiggins, Gary Payton II, and Kevon Looney

Now, LaVine is a controversial subject around the NBA. He played only 25 games last year because of an ankle problem, but beyond that, he can be a liability defensively and a ball-stopper offensively. He’s also in the third year of a monster five-year contract worth $215 million.

Here’s the justification for the deal:

“The Chicago Bulls are reportedly willing to attach the second-round picks they just got in the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade to unload LaVine’s contract, and Golden State might be the one team that can justify taking on the rest of that deal.

“It’s big, and this framework obviously costs the Warriors some depth, but if the 29-year-old is healthy, he and Curry would make up one of the league’s most explosive backcourts.”

Warriors Turned Down Bulls Trade Early in Offseason

The Warriors have already turned down one advance from the Bulls on a LaVine trade this year, declining the opportunity to unload Chris Paul’s contract in a LaVine package. According to Chris Haynes of TNT, that package could also have been offered for Wiggins.

The question for the Warriors is whether they’d be willing to pay out LaVine’s deal and accept the defensive limitations pairing him and Curry would present.

But offensively, it would be a winner for the Dubs, and they do need help there. LaVine can provide it. His stock has fallen too far, Bailey argues.

“The pendulum has swung too far on analysis of LaVine,” he wrote. “Even if you include his down 2023-24, he’s averaged 24.9 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.9 threes, while shooting 38.7 percent from deep, over the last five seasons.”

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