The calendar for the last two NBA seasons has shifted so much it can be difficult to get our bearings here with the playoffs winding down, international play picking up and draft season rolling along. What moon are we in? Is Mercury in retrograde? What is the maximum allowable number of shirts to cut the sleeves off because you put on a few pounds in the pandemic and are uncomfortable with how you’re being perceived right now?
More important than any of that: Where are the transactions?
As a friend reminded me on July 1, with a normal NBA calendar, we would be fully in the swing of “silly season.” Instead, the free agent moratorium has been bumped from the July long weekend to the August long weekend, and our sweaty, summer nights emerging back to patios have not yet shifted to free agency. Rather, the winds of draft speculation have taken on uncharacteristic warmth.
With the NBA, though, it’s always silly season. There’s already been a significant trade involving Kemba Walker, Al Horford and picks, as well as multiple coaching changes. And coming out of the NBA Draft Lottery, the Toronto Raptors’ good fortune has quickly been co-opted to generate talk of potential deals. Obviously, we’re not immune from that. Combine several good teams out earlier than they’d hoped with a feel the league hasn’t been so open at the top in some time, and front offices, fans and writers are going to see what might shake out on the trade market.
I tried to push this conversation off with Canada Basketball’s Olympic qualifying tournament, which ended prematurely and the questions have not ceased. So let’s talk about a theoretical Pascal Siakam deal to the Golden State Warriors.
Why are we talking about this?
Because my colleague, John Hollinger, takes pleasure in trolling me.
Coming out of the combine, Hollinger shared some chatter that the Warriors are motivated to use the Nos. 7 and 14 picks, plus last year’s No. 2 pick in James Wiseman, to seek immediate help.
This makes all the sense in the world. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all 31 or older. Dropping rookies around that core has not been as successful a roster-filling strategy as hoped, and the Warriors’ player development system has quietly struggled. Curry is a pending free agent after the 2021-22 season and, assuming he sticks around, the Warriors have very little cap flexibility thanks to the deals for their big three and Andrew Wiggins, all of which run through 2022-23 or later. Acquiring someone via sign-and-trade hard-caps the Warriors in a way they likely can’t manage, so turning future-oriented assets into near-term weapons is their clearest path to bouncing back and maximizing the last of this core’s window.