Klay Thompson’s future, Moses Moody’s minutes, and other Warriors questions

Tony Nguyen | Uncategorized
May 10, 2024

It’s the offseason doldrums for teams that only played one postseason game which, unfortunately, is the Golden State Warriors. That’s as good a time as any for a mailbag, so let’s have at it.

Thanks to everyone for the questions!

I’ve been sitting on this question a while, and I simply cannot figure out the answer.

First, a refresher. Kevon Looney has a partially-guaranteed contract for the 2024-25 season. If the Warriors want to keep him on the roster, he’ll be owed $8 million. If they want to cut him, he’ll be owed $3 million — money that, it’s worth noting, still counts against their salary cap and tax.

That’s a lot of money to pay Looney now that Trayce Jackson-Davis has supplanted him on the depth chart. Then again, it’s also a lot of money to pay Looney to not play for the Warriors.

Do the Warriors find a backup center they prefer, or one that’s even close but a lot cheaper? And how intent are they on shaving salary? I’d say the odds are about 50-50, but I’ll lean towards Looney staying.

Get younger, bigger, faster, and hopefully start shooting even better.

We definitely saw last year that he Warriors needed to be more reliant on Jackson-Davis, Jonathan Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski, and Moses Moody in certain matchups. That’s only gonna get more and more necessary.

As for the rest of the plan? Probably draft more players in the TJD mold — young players who are NBA ready.

Kuminga is especially hard player to answer this question about, since he’s still on a rookie contract. He’d have to be traded for another player on a rookie contract, or packaged with someone like Andrew Wiggins in order to land a player on a larger contract.

I’m also really high on Kuminga, really high on how well he can fit in the Warriors system, and really low on the idea of trading young players who have already established themselves as quality NBA players. And that’s doubly true every year a player moves further away from their draft date, when you start sacrificing their ceiling while trading for a value that’s more in line with their floor.

So it’s really hard for me to come up with a Kuminga trade that actually works. But if we can pretend contract statuses don’t exist, and just focus on the caliber of a player … I’d say the worst I’d trade for is someone like Jamal Murray. Is Murray a comfortably better player than Kuminga? Absolutely. But you’re taking a huge risk by getting rid of Kuminga, whose best days are almost surely ahead of him, and who you know fits the team and locker room and will only grow further in his role.

As for Wiggins, I’m of the pessimistic believe that the Dubs would be just as good if Moody had all his minutes. I hope I’m wrong about that, because he has so much potential and s so easy to root for … and for a brief period this late winter/early spring, it looked like he was returning to form. But I saw enough over the course of the season to conclude that the worst player I would trade for Wiggins is any non-problematic player who allows Golden State to shed the salary from that contract.

And as for packaging those two with Chris Paul? It seems highly unlikely, since that would eclipse $60 million in outgoing salary, and you just don’t see many of those trades happen for a reason. If a team is trying to send out that much salary, it’s probably not a player the Warriors want. And if a team is willing to just take on that much salary, it’s unlikely they want a year of Paul and three years of Wiggins … unless it’s just to get Kuminga for free, which I sure hope the Dubs wouldn’t do.

Yes, I think so. Part of it will be by necessity. Even accounting for the games that they didn’t play, the Warriors gave about 70 minutes per game to Paul, Wiggins, and Thompson last year, and it seems safe to say that at least one of those players (and quite possibly two) will be playing elsewhere next year, with no clear path towards bringing in a replacement. Any minutes lost from that veteran trio will be mostly absorbed by young players … and I’d think Moody in particular.

Steve Kerr has been open about wanting to get Moody more minutes. He’s also been fairly open about why Moody hasn’t been getting more minutes, and what changes he’ll need to make to earn that playing time. It can be hard to know how to balance those two things, so hopefully Moody just has one hell of an offseason.

Assuming a similar roster is back in San Francisco last year, Kuminga, Jackson-Davis, and Podziemski all earned big roles going forward. Moody is the last one left, and it seems likely that he’ll get that chance, whether it’s his play or a roster hole that dictates it.

Well, we need to start with the unfortunate news that the Warriors are incredibly handcuffed financially. So the names that I can turn to are limited, because they have to be players that aren’t going to sign big contracts. Thankfully, though, the Warriors will likely get to use the taxpayer mid-level exception this year, which they weren’t able to use last year. That would allow them to sign a player for up to $5,250,000. Pertinent to your question, it’s the exception they used to sign Donte DiVincenzo.

The other problem is that the bulk of young free agents are restricted free agents, which further cuts into the size of our pool. In other words, Mike Dunleavy Jr. doesn’t have a ton to work with here.

I’ve long felt Lonnie Walker IV would be a good fit on the Warriors, as so many former Gregg Popovich players are. He’s a good shooter with great athleticism, and just seems to need the right system and framework to excel.

I could see Markelle Fultz not gettin much of a payday, and he’s always a player who I felt could take off in the right system. If the Grizzlies turn down Luke Kennard’s option, I would want the Warriors to make an aggressive play there, but I highly doubt his price would fall that far.

In reality, the Dubs might have to aim lower. Jordan McLaughlin shot 47.2% on threes last year with a 110-19 assist-to-turnover ratio. There’s a good low-cost CP3 “replacement.”

Not as much as people want, honestly.

Here’s my prediction: the Warriors go fishing for a big name. They explore any and every option to add LeBron James or Kevin Durant, then move down to a slightly lower-level star and try to add them. They probably fail; most teams do. Then they pivot towards bringing back a similar squad to this year’s, but at a lesser pay scale. That means getting rid of Paul or reworking his contract to be much smaller. It probably means exploring a trade for Wiggins. It means being willing to add someone the way they added Paul last year. It means trying to re-sign Thompson but not overpaying.

Honestly … I have no idea. For the first half of the season, it was bittersweet that the Warriors would not be able to afford to re-sign Dario Šarić, who was playing so well — and fit in so perfectly — that he seemed tailor-made for the Dubs. And then, of course, his play and health fell off in the second half of the season, and the Warriors stopped playing him as he seemed a worse fit.

His price dropped in the process, and the Dubs could probably re-sign him. But do they want to? He certainly doesn’t help them get younger or more athletic, but having a floor-spacing big is a luxury that can really bail them out in certain matchups. I don’t expect them to bring him back, but it wouldn’t surprise me, either.