The Golden State Warriors entered the 2020-21 season with the stated goal of competing for an NBA championship. Unfortunately, their plans were obviously scuttled when Klay Thompson got injured again — prompting the front office to carelessly attempt to plug the hole by adding Kelly Oubre Jr.
That proved to be an $82 million error in judgement.
Despite it all, Golden State currently sits at 19-18 on the year, good for eighth place in the West. Not good enough to contend for a championship, but at least in the playoff hunt.
Recently, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report proposed a deal with the Chicago Bulls that would drastically and immediately catapult Golden State into the championship conversation.
In this trade, Chicago would get Oubre, Eric Paschall, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021 first-round pick (with top-three protection), Minnesota’s 2021 second-round pick, a 2023 first-round swap and a 2026 first-round pick (which is conditional upon 2024 obligation to the Memphis Grizzlies, has top-seven protection in 2026, has top-five protection in 2027 and turns into two seconds if not conveyed).
Golden State, meanwhile, would get Zach LaVine.
LaVine is in the midst of a career year, averaging 28.7 points on 53 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
Chicago is 16-18 so far this season and sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. While there is some decent talent on the roster, for whatever reason, this squad continues to be less than the sum of their parts.
LaVine is currently on a very manageable four-year, $78 million contract. Paying $19.5 million annually for the level of production LaVine is offering would be an absolute steal for Golden State.
Why make this move if you’re the Bulls? For the draft capital.
As noted by Favale, “that Timberwolves pick has a real shot at conveying in the top five despite its top-three protection. And shorting the Warriors’ long-term future, while not without risk, is a justifiable gamble.”
Klay knows how to do Valentine’s Day right. https://t.co/Gxt1gRLTX2
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 15, 2021
Obviously getting rid of LaVine stings for Chicago. They have a legitimate star-level prospect in the midst of a career year. That said, are they really ready to invest max-level cash in him? If the answer is yes, then obviously the front office should retain him and build around him.
But if the answer is no, then his trade value will never be higher.
Currently, there are two other trade proposals floating around involving LaVine.
The NBA Trade Deadline is set for March 25th this year. If a deal gets done, it needs to happen before then. And if it doesn’t, it’s safe to assume the Bulls are keeping LaVine long-term.