The Warriors Trade Exception Tournament Winner is...
The public has spoken in a very very split vote
That Trade Exception
So we’re looking for players under contract for less than $17.2m, and which teams might trade to the Warriors for (possibly extremely protected) draft picks.
Local writers have come up with some excellent ideas for possible targets:
It’s time to settle this, tournament style. I’ve combined all the ideas from the local writers and added two of my own, to make a list of 16 possible targets. I broke them into four groups for a Group Stage, and the winners of each group will have a final showdown. The groups have been determined by straight alphabetical order.
Group A results
45% Andre Iguodala
26% Danny Green
21% Dennis Schroder
7% Cody Zeller
Andre Iguodala took a plurality of the vote (Twitter votes + 10 x LGW comment votes) and coasts into the Final Round. I was surprised that sentiment didn’t drive his victory to greater heights. I guess everyone is rightfully wary of his age.
Group B results
65% Domantas Sabonis
27% Josh Richardson
7% Evan Fournier
1% Dewayne Dedmon
Sabonis easily takes the group and advances to the final.
Group C results
46% Marcus Smart
37% Kelly Oubre
11% Ricky Rubio
6% Kelly Olynyk
Group D results
59% Robert Covington
18% Will Barton
14% Rudy Gay
10% Thaddeus Young
I tabulated the results from Twitter and then the votes from LGW comments (which each counted as 10 Twitter votes).
28.9% Domantas Sabonis
27.0% Andre Iguodala
25.9% Robert Covington
18.3% Marcus Smart
This was damned close, heh heh. I love putting out a poll where people feel there’s an obvious choice, and the results are very even.
Now I asked you to vote on the basis of what would be best for the team, not what is likely to happen. I’ll briefly discuss the likelihood here.
Sabonis was already a long-shot because he’s a promising young big in Indiana that fits the system and seems to be improving. However, it’s come to light that his salary does not actually fit into the $17.2M trade exception. Basketball Reference may have fooled me (and Wes Goldberg).
Covington is a core part of the Rockets team and they would have no incentive to trade him to the Warriors. I would dare say they might have a fan revolt if they traded RC to the hated Warriors for nothing but draft picks. The only chance is if Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has a financial catastrophe that forces a fire sale. This is actually possible, as he’s already been tight-fisted, and COVID-19 has also gravely hurt his tourism/sports/restaurant business while he’s been leveraged up to the eyeballs in loans that bought him the Rockets.
Iguodala is a big question mark for everyone. But Pat Riley went out of his way to acquire Andre at a pretty steep price, and barely got to see him play this season. So I would think Andre would not be available until the next trade deadline, well after the trade exception (which was created by his own trade!!) expires.
That leaves Smart. He’s a quality player that’s a local favorite, but the Celtics are starting to hit a financial wall.
The Celtics, as cap enthusiasts are aware, are about to get very expensive with Jayson Tatum extension-eligible this offseason — particularly if veteran forward Gordon Hayward opts into the final year of his current deal.
The Celtics are also run by Danny Ainge, who is a real wheeler and dealer (he dumped Isaiah Thomas for god’s sake after IT became a cult hero by permanently injuring himself to lead the Celtics playoff run, even playing through his sister’s death). Nothing can be ruled out with Ainge calling the shots.
So in my mind, these four players are mostly long shots to be available, but Smart is the most likely to be available.